POLICE officers across the Thames Valley faced nearly 800 assaults last year.

Data from the Home Office shows that between April 2017 and March 2018, there were 794 assaults against officers of Thames Valley Police, of which 116 caused injuries.

This year is the first time that assaults causing injury to police officers have been recorded separately from those against members of the public.

A new law is to be introduced in the coming months that is likely to see harsher sentences handed down to people who assault emergency workers.

The Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill, which will be passed into law this autumn, will allow judges to take into account that the assault was committed against an emergency worker when sentencing offenders.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council has welcomed the new law. Chief Constable Andy Rhodes, said: “All too often police officers and police staff are subjected to assaults and threats.

“While the severity of such attacks changes, the impact upon society does not. It is never acceptable to assume that assaults upon police officers and police staff should be tolerated - they are not simply ‘part of the job’.

“Colleagues suffer not only physical injuries, but the psychological effects. Many find the return to frontline duties after being assaulted particularly challenging or traumatic.

“We are optimistic that the Assaults on Emergency Workers Bill, when introduced, will go some way to protecting our staff.”

There are currently 260 frontline officers trained to use the protective weapons, but a surge in brutality towards staff will see a 50 per cent rise from Thames Valley Police.

A national survey from the Police Federation of England and Wales found that 73 per cent of officers were single crewed 'often or always' in the past 12 months, leading to concerns over officer safety.

Thames Valley Police Federation chairman Craig O'Leary said: “An assault on a police officer is an assault on society and should never be viewed as just part of the job.

“Tasers are such an important piece of equipment for police officers these days. Especially now that police officers are being spread even more thinly over police areas.”

Thames Valley Police is set to Taser-train 130 response officers to tackle the surge in the assaults, a measure which has been welcomed by the federation.