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BBC1 programme to feature Warwickshire Police officers

A new 10-part documentary series for the BBC about assaults on emergency service workers will began airing today (Monday 10 June) on BBC1 at 9.15am called 'Critical Incident'

Featuring staff from across the public sector, the show will shine a light on the recovery and reintroduction of emergency workers assaulted and injured doing their job.

The programme on Thursday 13 June will feature officers from Warwickshire Police and focus on DC Sara Skinner and her colleagues.

Then a police constable, PC Skinner was patrolling alone on her bicycle in April 2015 in Lillington, Leamington when she was attacked. Having noticed a stolen BMW pull up outside an address which had already been burgled twice that year, PC Skinner witnessed three of the car's occupants try to break into the house.

Identifying herself as a police officer, she was instantly attacked by the offenders who pushed her from her bike, kicked her and poured a burning liquid onto her face and into her eyes while she 'played dead' to avoid further injury. PC Skinner managed to call for assistance while lying in the road but when police units arrived, the stolen car sped off over the top of PC Skinner's bike.

All four suspects were later arrested and subsequently received custodial sentences for offences ranging from conspiracy to commit burglary, assault and kidnap. A forensic scientist identified the liquid poured onto the officer's face as ammonium hydroxide, which causes burns.

Warwickshire Police Superintendent Ben Smith said: "This particular incident was horrific in nature and Sara showed great courage and professionalism in attempting to tackle the offenders, whilst also having the presence of mind to call for back up. The level of personal violence used against her was abhorrent, and it is down to good fortune that she didn't receive more serious injuries during the attack.

"Injuries to our officers and staff in the line of duty are unfortunately an all too often occurrence. On a daily basis our staff put their own safety and welfare on the line in order to protect the public. Each interaction comes with a level of risk and, on occasions, situations become volatile and aggression is directed at our staff.

"Ultimately, this sometimes results in our officers and staff suffering injuries, both of a physical and mental nature. This is wholly unacceptable but represents the sacrifice we make in order to serve and protect the public, and particularly the most vulnerable in our society. Indeed, on a weekly basis I am both proud and humbled by the actions that our officers and staff take in order to protect the public.

"It is important that every officer and staff member knows that Warwickshire Police puts the safety of our staff and officers at the very top of our priority list. Should you become hurt, should you suffer with the effects of a distressing job you've been to, we are determined to put your health and wellbeing first, providing the support you need to get back to your fittest and best.

"I am extremely proud to wear this uniform and to be a part of the Warwickshire Police family that holds the protection of the public above that of their own and I am honoured to serve alongside each and every one of you."

The programme featuring DC Skinner and her colleagues will air on Thursday 13 June at 9.15am


Issued by Alex Gale, Communications Officer at 12.30pm on Monday 10 June 2019

Published 10/06/19