They’re here to protect the community, but for a growing number of Penrith’s crime fighters, getting assaulted on the job is a scary reality.
As the number of reported incidents rise, Penrith is stained with a bad reputation – with the community emerging as one of the state’s most dangerous beats.
In the year to March 2019 there were 83 police assaults locally, which officers say is largely due to ice usage and domestic violence.
A 29-year-old female officer bore the brunt of four separate assaults, one instance included being punched in the face by a large, intoxicated man.
“I ran over to the big melee that was occurring and I was punched in the face pretty much straight away, it was from a grown man, I think as a female you don’t really expect that,” she told the Weekender.
“Any priority job you go to, on the way it’s always in the back of your mind that this could go really badly, especially if someone is on ice.”
She said family violence, alcohol, drugs and mental health are all of the big contributing factors to high risk jobs.
Another male police officer detailed his experiences to the Weekender. He no longer remembers how many times he’s been assaulted and even revealed a scar on his wrist where he was previously bitten.
“People will threaten to kill your family or hurt your kids, but it’s social media now that has had a huge impact on the respect levels for police,” he said.
When officers are called out to a job, the first available officers will attend. Gender or size of the officer is never taken into consideration.
Detective Inspector Steven Peroni said in most cases they are dealing with people on the worst day of their lives, and while they understand that, it also means the person has nothing to lose.
“This kind of behaviour is not tolerated,” he said.
“Police officers deserve to go home to their families at the end of every shift, no one should have to expect to come to work and be assaulted.”
On average, one Nepean Police Area Command officer is assaulted every four days.
A graduate of Western Sydney University, Nicola Barton is a news journalist with the Western Weekender, primarily covering crime and politics.