Of­fi­cer hurt in ran­dom at­tack

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - - Heartbreaking Statement - By Mary Gra­ham mgra­ham@thek­m­group.co.uk @Ken­tishgazette

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’.”

Pic­tures: Tony Flash­man

PC Ash­ley Mcma­han with Stephen Fursse, the lorry driver whose life he saved, and po­lice and crime com­mis­sioner Matthew Scott

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