Female cop punched in the face

JOELLE DALLY
Last updated 05:00 29/05/2013

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A Christchurch policewoman was punched in the face and her colleague suffered a broken finger after a roadside car check turned violent.

A 40-year-old former boxer is in custody and facing several charges after the incident in Manchester St early on Saturday.

Police say assaults on officers are becoming common, with frontline officers regularly being spat at, kicked or hit.

Inspector Derek Erasmus said the two officers were on patrol and had stopped to talk to a driver parked at the side of the street.

The driver allegedly attacked both officers "as a result of the conversation".

He would not be drawn on the details of the assault, but The Press understands the officers were retreating and the driver gave chase.

The male officer suffered a broken finger that required hospital treatment, Erasmus said, and the policewoman suffered bruising to the face when she was allegedly hit.

Erasmus said the officers managed to call for backup, and those arriving on the scene arrested the man. A Taser was not required.

The policewoman had already returned to work, but the other officer was likely to be off work this week and then return to light duties only.

The incident was "sad", Erasmus said.

"While some might say it's an occupational hazard, there is still a significant effect on individual officers when they get assaulted. It's never a pleasant experience [and] sometimes they can be a lot more serious than this,'' he said.

"To receive a significant injury like a broken bone is not that common. However, it is very common for our staff to be assaulted in a more minor way, such as being spat on, kicked, hit, that sort of thing. That's quite regular."

A 40-year-old man appeared in the Christchurch District Court on Saturday charged with assaulting police, assault with intent to injure, possession of cannabis, and refusing to provide his name and address, Erasmus said.

The man was released on bail but re-arrested on Sunday on an unrelated matter, and was remanded in custody.

Police Association vice president Luke Shadbolt said that while assaults on police were not new, the "unprovoked and unpredictable" attack was.

There were 127 assaults on police in April, 13 of which were in Canterbury.

Attacks were often fuelled by alcohol, synthetic cannabis and sometimes a simple lack of respect, Shadbolt said.

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