Attacks on PSNI officers branded 'shameful and unacceptable'

District Commander, Superintendent Norman Haslett described attacks on police officers as "shameful and unacceptable"
Marie Louise McConville

SEVERAL attacks on PSNI officers in recent weeks have been branded "shameful and unacceptable".

In the latest incident this week, three officers were assaulted in Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry. The trio had been accompanying a patient requiring medical attention, at around 4.45am on Wednesday, when the man lashed out. Two of the officers were bitten on the leg while one was punched in the face. Blood was also spat into the faces of two officers. One of the officers was seen by medical staff though they were able to remain on duty.

The PSNI said the incident was the latest series of attacks on officers. In Newry Mourne and Down, a total of 17 police officers were injured in attacks during the course of their duties in December.

In one weekend alone last month, six constables were punched, kicked and headbutted.

Some required hospital treatment and small number had to take some time off work to heal from their injuries.

District Commander Superintendent Norman Haslett described attacks on officers as "shameful and unacceptable".

"In what other job would this happen?" he said.

"These are men and women who are working hard to keep their communities safe and this is how they are treated? While we come to work knowing we could be faced with difficult and dangerous situations, it is completely unacceptable that our officers should be assaulted and verbally berated in the most shocking ways for simply doing their jobs."

Mr Haslett, who described the hospital attack as "a particularly nasty assault", said such incidents highlight "our message that all assaults on emergency service workers - be that a nurse, doctor, paramedic or police officer - are serious offences and there are serious consequences.

"Six people have been charged to court already and risk jail time for these assaults in December," he said.

"And a man has been reported to the Public Prosecution Service following this hospital attack on three counts of assault on police and criminal damage. Assaults on our officers are unacceptable, and will not be tolerated."