Officer hurt in random attack
A heroic police officer who once saved a lorry driver’s life has told how he was punched in the face by a random passer-by in the city centre.
PC Ashley Mcmahan was left with ringing in his ears and needed an X-ray after he was struck in the jaw by the man.
He spoke of the assault as it emerged attacks on officers in Kent continue to rise at an alarming rate.
The 34-year-old said: “I wear the traditional police hat which gets a lot of attention from tourists.
“I had stopped to take some pictures with a group when I heard someone in my blind spot shouting general police abuse.
“As I turned around he punched me in the jaw.”
PC Mcmahan, a police officer for 14 years, had to be taken to hospital to have an X-ray on his jaw and he has only recently lost the sensation of ringing in his ears from the trauma.
The attack in August was scant appreciation for the work he does on the city’s streets, with lorry driver Stephen Fursse among those reaping the rewards of PC Mcmahan’s efforts.
In 2014 his life was saved by the officer, who performed CPR on him after he suffered a heart attack and fell off the back of a truck.
But across the county assaults on police officers continue to increase, with 328 injured in the line of duty in 2016/17 – up from 272 the previous year and 238 in 2014/15.
Last year there were 80 reports of officers being kicked, 49 punched and 28 bitten.
Matthew Scott, police and crime commissioner, believes the rise is down to more people thinking it is acceptable to attack the police and a change in trends as officers are dispatched to more violent incidents.
Kent Police has re-introduced spit guards and spit hoods to protect staff.
Deputy chief constable Paul Brandon added: “Every day our officers are required to attend unpredictable and challenging circumstances.
“Our frontline officers and staff are regularly exposed to volatile situations, and these occasionally result in them being assaulted.
“This is not accepted as being ‘part of the job’.”
PC Ashley Mcmahan with Stephen Fursse, the lorry driver whose life he saved, and police and crime commissioner Matthew Scott