A police constable who was run over by a suspected car thief is facing “potentially life-changing” injuries, a senior officer has said.
The married 42-year-old traffic officer from West Midlands Police suffered a broken pelvis and head, abdominal and other internal injuries and will return to the operating theatre later on Sunday.
A 29-year-old man remains in custody after being detained on suspicion of the attempted murder in Moseley, Birmingham, on Saturday afternoon.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said she was “appalled” by the “sickening attack” on the officer, who underwent surgery on Saturday evening.
Superintendent Tom Joyce said the overriding sentiment of all officers at the force is one of shock – adding that the culprit can expect to face “the full weight of the judicial system”.
Police said the traffic officer was in Moorcroft Road, Moseley, tracing a Range Rover Sport which had been stolen minutes earlier from a woman.
The force said that as the officer attempted to arrest the suspect at about 4.45pm on Saturday, he was “violently assaulted and punched to the ground”.
He was then run over by the suspect as he got behind the wheel of the officer’s marked patrol car.
Police said it is understood the man drove the vehicle for around a mile into Ladypool Road, Sparkbrook, where he abandoned it and tried to steal another car.
Back-up officers, including armed police, cornered the suspect, who was Tasered and arrested.
The 29-year-old man, from Hall Green, was detained along with a 24-year-old man who has been arrested for car theft, the force said.
Speaking to PA after the incident, Mr Joyce said: “Without going into great detail, we know that he suffered a broken pelvis and some other internal injuries as a result of the incident.
“It’s difficult to give a prognosis at the moment. They are certainly potentially life-changing – but we are relieved to say, we understand they are not believed to be life-threatening.
“His wife is aware of the incident and is with him at this time.”
Addressing how the officer’s colleagues are feeling, Mr Joyce said: “I think the overriding sentiment of all officers is one of shock.
“These incidents fortunately don’t happen every day and they are not incredibly common – but when they do happen they are very sobering because it reminds everyone just how dangerous the profession of policing can be.
“It is often said that the danger people run away from, officers have to run towards and certainly on this occasion, officers were met with an extremely violent individual who has caused very significant injuries.
“I think those who know the officer know he has invested his entire career in trying to tackle car thieves, burglars, and those sort of offenders who cause the most harm to our society.
“He was doing what he has done diligently for many, many years now.”
Mr Joyce continued: “He has been with West Midlands Police for 17 years now, of which the last 12 he has been serving as a traffic officer.
“He’s a second generation police officer – his father served with West Midlands Police as well – so policing is in his blood. It’s his calling if you will.
“I think most officers who have served a career of that length will at some point have suffered some sort of injury and faced violence.
“But certainly this is going to be the most significant injuries he has faced.”
The incident comes just days after Metropolitan Police officer Stuart Outten was left with head and hand injuries after challenging a motor offences suspect allegedly armed with a machete in east London.
Muhammad Rodwan, 56, has been charged with the attempted murder of Pc Outten, 28, and possession of an offensive weapon following the incident in Leyton just after midnight on Thursday.
Asked if he believed there was a fear that these sorts of incidents would become commonplace, Mr Joyce said: “I think it is reasonable to say that unfortunately, these events do occur from time to time.
“Obviously what has just happened with the Met – there are situations where officers face very violent offenders – and when they do, there is a risk of very serious injuries.
“I think to suggest it will become commonplace, that’s not a concern we have. Fortunately these sort of offenders are not every day – they are not common.”
Issuing a message to anyone who would think about carrying out a similar attack, Mr Joyce said: “The obvious message is don’t.
“We have a suspect in custody for the incident – they were detained a short while away from the scene and they will be facing the strongest penalty we can secure.
“The suspect is in custody at this time on suspicion of attempted murder – and obviously attempted murder is about as serious an offence as you can get and it carries a mandatory life sentence.
“The expectation is they will face the full weight of the judicial system.”