Breaking Hampshire Portsmouth

Hampshire Police are considering appealing an 18 month suspended sentence handed down to 31-year-old Matthew David Wagstaff who pleaded guilty to assaulting a Hampshire police officer


Officers making enquiries into drugs offences in Lees Lane spotted Wagstaff and approached him to speak to him. He ran from police before officers caught up with him as he hopped garden fences in Pelham Road.

Wagstaff grabbed an asp out of an officer’s hand before repeatedly striking another officer over the head with it, resulting in head injuries which required hospital treatment.

Today Hampshire Police federation, the voice for officers slammed the sentence handed to Wagstaff by Portsmouth Crown Court on Friday.

Zoe Wakefield, Chair of Hampshire Police Federation, said colleagues were livid at the weak sentence handed down for the assault and that it made a mockery of promises to protect the protectors.

She said: “For the judge to give a suspended sentence in this case is completely unacceptable. This tells criminals that you can strike a police officer on the head, more than once, with a metal stick and not go to prison.

It’s pure luck that the officer’s injuries are not more serious. We are supporting colleagues as best we can, but we now need the judiciary to support us and provide an appropriate punishment and appropriate deterrent for such awful crimes.”

Hampshire Constabulary is considering appealing the sentence.
Insp Matt Wake said: “Assaults against our people will never be tolerated. It is not ‘simply part of the job’ and we will always take these extremely seriously.

“This was a violent attack on one of our officers, who needed treatment in hospital as a result. Fortunately he has recovered well and is back on duty, but the outcome could have been far more severe.”