IT goes without saying that police officers face potentially dangerous situations every working day.

But putting themselves on the front line, to keep individuals and communities safe, shouldn’t make them targets for assault.

RELATED STORY: 40 attacks on police each week

So it is shocking to learn that police officers are being attacked at an average rate of 40 each week in West Yorkshire, with nearly 1,400 assaults in one year. According to the Police Federation figures, over the last week there have been 23 attacks on officers in Bradford.

As West Yorkshire Police Federation chairman Brian Booth points out, actions such as spitting at officers – which, disturbingly, are seen as acceptable by some people – can lead to health issues which can then have a knock-on effect on the officer concerned, their family and the public.

If we have reached a point where attacking the police is seen as acceptable, there is clearly, and worryingly, a total lack of the respect for others that a society should be built on. It’s a lack of respect that affects other emergency services too.

We have to get tough on this behaviour, and that means more stringent sentences for those who attack our 999 workers.

The new Assaults on Emergency Workers Act should go some way towards this, and cameras worn by police officers may make people think twice about their behaviour if they are aware it is being recorded.

It’s a sad reflection on society that, in an overstretched police force, police officers are having to take on more responsibility to protect themselves. But if that’s what it takes to tackle these unacceptable assaults, that is where the future of policing sadly lies.