HAMPSHIRE Police Federation has threatened to take its force to court if an officer gets injured while staffing levels are too low.

The stark warning was made to the county’s chief constable Andy Marsh by Federation chairman John Apter, who said he would have no doubts in launching legal action if officer safety was compromised by cutbacks.

Mr Apter said: “Taking such risks with officers’ safety is not acceptable and we can’t stand by and allow this to happen.

“Where managers take unnecessary risks with minimum staffing levels and one of our members gets injured, we will take legal action against the force.”

Mr Apter also called for a change in culture around officer assaults – after he uncovered a perception that assaults are seen as “part of the job”.

H e added: “I agree policing is tough, it’s dangerous, but assaulting an officer, at any level, must never be seen as just part of the job. It should be seen as unacceptable, and we must deal with it robustly.”

In the past five years there have been almost 5,000 assaults on officers across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight – 1,200 of which took place since April last year.