PEOPLE who abuse police officers in the line of duty will be met with the full force of the law, a senior union figure has warned.

Jamie McTear, of Cumbria Police Federation, hit out after a man was convicted of racially abusing a police officer, saying: “Enough is enough.”

He also spoke out after a ‘marked increase’ in physical and verbal abuse against officers in the county.

A court ruled there was ‘no doubt’ that Barrow man David Gibney was referring to an officer’s race when he hurled abuse at the constable while being arrested.

The 54-year-old had been racially abusive towards PC Rashid Said who had arrested him for assaulting a taxi driver.

Gibney, of Abbotsmead Approach, was convicted of assault against the driver as well as racially aggravated harassment against the police officer following a trial.

PC Said told South Cumbria Magistrates’ he was ‘really upset’ by comments made to him several times by the defendant.

The court heard how Gibney had also used sang a chant involving repeated use of a racial slur while being transported to custody by another police officer.

Mr McTear, the secretary of the Cumbria Police Federation, spoke out following the trial.

And highlighting abuse against police, he pointed to figures from the Office for National Statistics, which showed there had been 370 reported assaults on Cumbrian officers from 2019-2020.

He said: “Over the past year we have seen a marked increase in the number of incidents where officers have been subjected to verbal and physical abuse, while trying to do their job and keep the people of Cumbria safe.

“PC Said was subjected to a tirade of abhorrent racial abuse, which is wholly unacceptable and I hope the sentence handed down to David Gibney properly befits his crimes.”

He also warned: “Police go out to keep people safe and shouldn’t have to put with this level of abuse and firm action would be taken against anyone who does.”

Giving evidence, PC Said told the court how the defendant had directed abuse towards him when being arrested on January 3.

He said: “He was swearing a lot and then he looked at me.”

The officer said Gibney then used an abusive phrase that made reference to his ethnicity.

He said Gibney was told by another officer his words were ‘unacceptable’.

The defendant then apologised to him.

“I was really upset and luckily I had my colleagues jump in,” he said.