HUNDREDS of police officers have been attacked while on duty in Wrexham, Flintshire and Denbighshire over the last five years.

Freedom of information data sets out the annual totals of recorded assaults against police officers from the beginning of 2014 to date.

In Wrexham a total of 195 assaults were recorded during that period - with the annual number increasing from 35 in 2016 to 40 the following year and then 55 in the first ten months of this year alone.

Assaults against officers in Flintshire more than doubled from last year’s figure of 13 to 32 from the start of 2018 to date.

The overall total assaults in Flintshire from 2014 to date is 103.

In Denbighshire 189 assaults against officers were recorded across the five year period.

The number of assaults for this year so far is lower than last year’s total, with 55 recorded in 2017 and 48 so far this year.

North Wales Police clarified that the incidents described in the figures are offences classified as ‘violence against the person’ where the victim is a police officer on duty.

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones said he believes severe financial cuts imposed by the Government are at least partly to blame for the rise in attacks.

Mr Jones, a former police inspector, has consistently backed calls for the courts to impose more serious punishments on people who attack the police.

He supported the new Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill which received Royal Assent last month.

As a result, the sentences that the courts can impose will be doubled.

The commissioner said: “Unfortunately, the number and seriousness of assaults on police officers is increasing all the time and part of the reason for this is the swingeing cuts imposed on the police year after year.

“These cuts have serious consequences and the fact that more and more police officers are being attacked is an indication of this.

“Here in North Wales we are now strengthening the front line and since I took office two years ago the force has recruited more than 50 new officers and we are aiming to continue with the recruitment.

“As chair of the Local Criminal Justice Board in North Wales, I am bringing pressure on the Crown Prosecution and the courts to ensure appropriate sentencing of those found guilty of assaulting an officer.

“I am also working with the Police Federation locally and nationally and we will be discussing this issue at a meeting this week.

“I would like to give more confidence and support to police officers to use more force to protect and safeguard themselves if they come under attack when they’re on duty.

“We as a force also need to get behind our officers and support them especially when they use force to protect themselves and the public.

“Everybody, whether they are a police officer or a member of the public, has the right to protect themselves from being assaulted.

“A higher percentage of officers in North Wales carry tasers than is the case in many forces and North Wales Police are now increasing the number of officers equipped with tasers, partly in response to the rise in attacks on officers.

“These attacks on the women and men who put their lives in the line to keep us safe are contemptible.

“The introduction of tougher sentences will send a clear message that these attacks on our front line officers will not be tolerated.

“The officers put themselves in harm’s way to keep our communities safe so we must protect those who protect us.”

Acting Chief Constable Gareth Pritchard said: “An assault of any kind should never be considered part of the job.

“These attacks leave their mark physically and mentally on the officers and in some cases their families.”