Teenager who smashed police officer’s head on patio gets suspended sentence
A police constable has called for guaranteed time behind bars for those who assault officers after a teenager who slammed his head into a patio received a suspended sentence.
Pc Darren Jenkins, 47, was left with facial injuries that shocked his family after Riley Hope, 18, smashed his head into a patio and punched him in the face, breaking his nose.
The teenager had crashed a moped into a concrete post during the morning rush hour in Leyton, east London, on January 23.
As officers moved in to arrest him he ran off, with Pc Jenkins giving chase and finding him hiding in a conifer bush.
In the ensuing struggle, Hope repeatedly punched the constable and hit his head on the paving slabs.
On Friday at Thames Magistrates’ Court, Hope was given a six-month prison sentence suspended for two years, and 200 hours unpaid work, after admitting assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Pc Jenkins, who is still off work with his injuries, said: “I love protecting the public, but who protects us?
“If all the evidence is there, body-worn video is there, and if they are found guilty or admit doing it, then there has to be a mandatory jail term for people who assault police officers.
“I was angry at the time about what Hope did. But I sort of expected the sentence, in a way, which is pretty sad.
“There is no deterrent, and because there is no deterrent, we the police are now having the problems we are having.”
He claimed that Hope could have run off after punching him, but instead stayed to inflict more violence.
“He purposely tried to ‘finish me off’ by literally smashing my head.
“The way he slammed my head into the floor; I know people are evil, and you see it all the time. But I thought that’s a step too much.”
Despite his injuries he continued to try to chase the suspect, until he was told by a sergeant to get medical help, and was left “in shock” at the sight of his injuries.
Hope escaped onto a nearby roof, but was eventually caught by the police and London Fire Brigade.
Pc Jenkins, who is based in Walthamstow, east London, added: “When I got home my family were shocked with how I looked and my wife Julie kept saying ‘it doesn’t look like you’.
“The attack has not shaken my confidence as a police officer, but as a dad, it’s only natural that it’s made me think twice about my daughter Chloe who is keen on joining the force.
“I’m not the biggest bloke in the world. I’m 5’11”, she’s 5’7” and has a small frame. He probably would have killed her.
“Especially with the punch to the face. It makes me think, what would she be getting into?”
Between November 2018 and 2019, 19,771 offences of assault on an emergency services worker were charged by the Crown Prosecution Service.
The maximum penalty is 12 months and before the election the Conservatives mooted plans to double this.
Metropolitan Police Federation Chairman Ken Marsh said the leniency of Hope’s sentence made a mockery of the legislation.
“I am flabbergasted by this sentencing decision – as every single one of my Metropolitan Police colleagues will be.
“It’s utter nonsense, and the public will be equally appalled. What kind of message does this send?
“An average of 16 Metropolitan Police officers are assaulted every day. When our brave colleagues are sadly horrifically attacked out there doing their duty, the courts must provide an appropriate deterrent.”