Belfast Telegraph

Action demanded as female PSNI officer assaulted for second time in five months

By Claire Williamson

A female police officer was kicked twice in the face as she attended a domestic dispute - the second time she has been attacked in the space of five months.

As well as suffering bruising, the officer had some hair pulled out during the incident. A male colleague who attended the call with her was also set upon.

The mother-of-two officer was also attacked in April when she attended disturbances in the Crumlin area. She was struck with a brick during the incident and required staples in her head.

Just 24 hours beforehand, she had helped rescue a woman from a fire in the Co Antrim village.

The Police Federation for Northern Ireland (PFNI), which represents rank-and-file PSNI officers, yesterday released images showing the extent of the bruising to the woman's face as it called for stiffer punishments.

The body also published similar photos (left) of the officer after the previous incident.

The news of the latest attack on the officer came one day after the PFNI called on Stormont to introduce legislation that would lead to mandatory custodial sentences for people found guilty of attacking police.

Chairman Mark Lindsay said there had been attacks on 20% of frontline staff - which amounts to almost 600 officers - in the past year.

Mr Lindsay added that assaults on officers were totally unacceptable, and tougher sentencing would send a clear message that the administration was committed to protecting police carrying out their duty.

"What we are trying to achieve is a reduction in the number of police officers assaulted as a result of doing their job," he explained.

"Last year we saw 20% of our frontline staff - almost 600 officers - assaulted while protecting the community.

"To us, this is unacceptable. What we are asking is for there to be proper sentencing procedures and custodial sentences for people who are convicted of assaulting the police."

Commenting on the most recent attack, the PFNI called it "deplorable".

"No officer deserves to be treated like this in situations where they are rushing to help people when they have been asked to intervene in a domestic situation or indeed any situation out there... no officer deserves that," a spokesman told the Belfast Telegraph.

"It's dreadful. The police rush to people's aid and they get into harm's way. That is their job, but they don't deserve to be treated like this. This is deplorable behaviour.

"Whether it's holding the line to uphold a Parades Commission ruling or whether it's in response to a domestic dispute, they deserve to be treated properly."

In March, the PFNI launched a campaign to show the public that police officers were like the rest of us. The message behind the series of hard-hitting videos was that officers are "normal people doing a job like no other".

The videos were part of the We Are You campaign, which was launched in an effort to show that the police are people too.

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