Upper Bann MLA and Justice Spokesperson Doug Beattie has given his support to calls by the Police Federation to introduce legislation making assault of a police officer an offence that carries a mandatory custodial sentence.
Mr Beattie has called on the Northern Ireland Exective to bring forward legislation at the earliest opportunity.
He said although becoming a police officer subjects you to a high level of personal violence, this should never be accepted as normal.
“Any attack on a public servant, be that a nurse, teacher, paramedic or firefighter is abhorrent,” he said, “but it is our police service that are called to assist with all such incidents and more besides, putting them very much in the firing line.
“Unlike the rest of the UK, we do not have complete acceptance of policing by consent in Northern Ireland.
“It is the role of the police service to protect life and property and in doing so they put themselves in extreme danger.
“With nearly 50 attacks a month on police officers it is clear that the present fines and non-custodial sentences are wholly ineffective as a deterrent and to prevent the undermining of our police service and to show support for those who keep us safe, it is important we explore other avenues.