Police officer attacked while investigating lockdown breach

A POLICE officer has been attacked while investigating a possible breach of lockdown rules in West Byfleet.

The assault took place in West Byfleet Recreation Ground on Camphill Road shortly before 7pm on Thursday, 21 May, and saw the officer, who was on solo patrol, taken to hospital with minor injuries.

Surrey Police are asking anyone who may have witnessed the attack to contact them

“We can confirm that, while attending a call concerning groups of young adults suspected of breaching the COVID-19 guidelines, a single-crewed officer was attacked by a group of young men as he engaged with them,” said a police spokesman.

“Our officer has been taken to hospital with minor injuries to his wrist and head, and three individuals – one adult and two juveniles – were located and arrested a short time later and taken to custody.”

The officer was responding to reports of a group of around 30 young people allegedly breaking COVID-19 social distancing restrictions. While dispersing the group, a 15-year-old boy was placed under arrest for a public order offence. Members of the group then turned on the officer, attacking him.

The incident was filmed and has been shared on social media.

Temporary Inspector David Bentley, Borough Commander for Woking, said: “No one should have to face being assaulted as a result of simply doing their job – especially when the officer involved was trying to protect their community.

“We are aware that there were multiple witnesses to this incident, a number of whom filmed the attack, and we continue to urge anyone with any information or footage to get in touch with us. We are also aware that videos are being shared on social media and we would ask people to consider the impact of sharing these. Not only is the footage evidential in nature, but seeing it being circulated will no doubt be distressing for both our officer and his wider family.

“Officers come to work every day, fully aware of the risks that they face as frontline workers, due to potentially volatile situations as well as the current pandemic – yet it is appalling that events such as these should take place. We are pleased to confirm that the officer sustained minor injuries, but it could have been a lot worse, and assaults against any emergency services workers will not be tolerated,” he said.

“On a final note I would like to thank the members of the public who have shown an overwhelming amount of support to our exceptional officers.”

If you witnessed the attack or have any further information, please call 101, quoting reference number PR/45200052505. You can also give information, 100% anonymously, to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111; or through their anonymous online form: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/.

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