Vicious assaults over summer

NZPA | Thu February 1st, 2018

There have been some nasty attacks on members during routine policing this holiday season.

A kick, a punch or projectiles of spittle are, unfortunately, regular occurrences, but some recent incidents have gone beyond everyday scuffles.

In the worst case, a road policing officer was struck by a vehicle after he had laid road spikes to try to stop it. He was thrown about five metres in the air, landing in a drain.

He was taken to hospital with serious leg injuries and then suffered complications including infection and a pulmonary embolism.

Another member was the victim of an assault in court cells. He received a broken eye socket, which required surgery, and a broken tooth when he was kicked in the head. It was his last shift before retiring.

A female officer attempting to restrain a prisoner had a clump of her hair ripped out.

Assault biteAnother officer received horrible injuries to his upper arm and thumb after he was bitten so hard it broke the skin, resulting in bleeding and a visible ring of teeth marks (pictured, right).

When the officer attempted to dislodge the biter using his other hand, the offender then latched onto his thumb with his teeth. The officer required hospital treatment and a tetanus injection.

Meanwhile, two members were checked for whiplash after the patrol vehicle they were in was rammed from behind and written off.

These assaults are the most notable from a catalogue that also includes a fractured thumb and torn ligaments, a swollen face and mouth from being punched in the head, a broken nose and being hit in the thigh with a machete (fortunately causing bruising only).

The Police Association offers support to injured officers, but, as President Chris Cahill notes, it would be better if such attacks did not occur in the first place.

“These disgusting attacks reflect the dangers our members face and also why we need to make every effort to protect ourselves, as well as ensuring that Police provides the safest operating environment possible for staff,” he says.

“We should never accept that assaults like this are just part of the job. Officers have every right to expect that when such offenders appear before the courts, the sentences they receive will act as a deterrent and make it clear that society will not tolerate such attacks on its police.”

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