Police officers spat at, kicked, punched and bitten

BRIGHTON, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 25: A police car patrols Brighton beach on April 25, 2020 in Brighton, United Kingdom. The British government has extended the lockdown restrictions first introduced on March 23 that are meant to slow the spread of COVID-19. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
A Sussex Police car patrols Brighton beach earlier this year. (Getty)

A police force has revealed its officers were subjected to a “significant number” of assaults on Christmas Day.

Sussex Police said at least 16 officers had been assaulted, with some being spat at, kicked, punched and bitten.

One officer even suffered a dislocated shoulder in an altercation with a member of the public as the force branded the incidents "completely unacceptable".

A total of 12 separate incidents took place in West Sussex while another four happened in Brighton and Hove.

An ambulance crew was also attacked in Morse Street, Swindon on Christmas Day. (Google)
An ambulance crew was also attacked in Morse Street, Swindon on Christmas Day. (Google)

Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Rayland said: "Each one of these officers has sacrificed spending Christmas with their loved ones to protect the public and catch criminals, only to be on the receiving end of offences committed by a small number of individuals.

"We are fortunate to have committed police officers who signed up to protect vulnerable people and make our towns and communities a safer place; they did not sign up to be assaulted, insulted or abused.

"While the vast majority of people in Sussex are fully supportive of our officers and our force, there is a small minority who seem to think the law does not apply to them."

It comes after a man was arrested in Wiltshire after allegedly driving into an ambulance and attacking paramedics with a knife on Christmas Day.

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Paramedics from the South Western Ambulance Service said they "became fearful" for their own safety while attending an afternoon callout on Friday.

A 39-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of affray, criminal damage and drink driving.

Inspector Steve Love added: "It is a sad reality that while attending calls to protect the public that emergency service staff are put in situations where they fear for their own safety on a daily basis and Christmas Day is no exception unfortunately.

"Nobody should be made to feel in danger when trying to carry out their work, especially when that work involves protecting our communities.

"We will do all we can to protect emergency workers doing their job and urge the public to respect our officers and members of the ambulance service and fire service and to help us to help you."

Assaults on emergency service workers have risen by nearly a third compared with last year, according to police data.

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