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Seventeen police officers assaulted in 24 hours

Seventeen police officers have been assaulted in incidents across Northern Ireland in the past 24 hours.

Four police officers were assaulted in Coalisland on Saturday afternoon whilst dealing with a man who was found apparently collapsed on the street. The man lashed out at the responding officers, headbutting one and punching, spitting and kicking at others. He was arrested and when placed in the police vehicle, he continued to spit and lash out, damaging the interior and rendering the vehicle unusable for a number of hours.

The 38 year old was subsequently charged with a number of offences including assault on police, grievous bodily harm, criminal damage and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. He will appear at Enniskillen Magistrates court in the morning. Two of the injured officers required hospital treatment but returned to duty.

Shortly after midnight five officers responding to a report of domestic assault in Antrim were injured when a man attacked them with a large piece of broken glass. Three of the officers sustained cuts and lacerations that required medical treatment. A 32 year old man who was arrested subsequently also caused damage to a police vehicle which had to be removed from service for the remainder of the night. The arrested man remains in police custody at present.

In Ballymena, three officers attending a reported assault on a man in the Linenhall Street area were punched in the face and head, and had their uniform and equipment damaged. A 28 year old man was arrested and is currently in police custody.

Three officers were also spat on and struck in the face in Belfast by a man they were conveying to hospital. It’s understood the man had sustained injuries in an earlier altercation and was being taken for treatment by police when he attacked them. He was arrested and remains in custody at present.

Also in Belfast a 34 year old man has been charged with assaulting police, criminal damage and disorderly behaviour after he was arrested following a disturbance in Union Street during the early hours of Sunday. He is due to appear at Belfast Magistrates on 3 November.

In a separate incident a 30 year old woman was charged to court after assaulting an officer outside a Belfast hospital and causing criminal damage to a police car. She is expected to appear at Belfast Magistrates on 3 November. A 29 year old man also arrested at the same time on suspicion of assaulting police was released pending a report to the PPS.

Assistant Chief Constable Chris Todd said: “It is appalling that any police officer should be subjected to violence whilst simply doing their job. For seventeen individual officers to be subjected to violence, spat on, kicked and slashed in a single day beggars belief.

Whilst we come to work knowing we could be faced with difficult and dangerous situations, it is completely unacceptable that officers should be physically attacked.

These horrible incidents just show the often grim reality of what officers on the ground are facing each and every day as they work to help people and keep our communities safe.”

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