COPS fear they are becoming ‘society’s punchbags’ after a sickening video emerged of officers being battered in the street – as people watched and laughed.
Two men have today been arrested after the police officers were filmed being taunted by a group in Hackney, London, as one grappled with a man on the ground.
The footage has since been widely condemned by Home Secretary Priti Patel along with London Mayor Sadiq Khan and police authorities.
And Ken Marsh, the chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents 30,000 London officers said: “We are not society’s punchbags. We have families we want to go home to at the end of every shift. But the dangers are stark, and seemingly escalating.”
Metropolitan Police today said that two men have been arrested over the incident, saying: “Officers should be able to go about their work, protecting the public, without fear of abuse or attack. Being assaulted is not ‘part of the job’.”
In the clip, filmed by a passerby, the officer appearing to restrain the man falls to the pavement with him.
The man puts a hand over the policeman’s mouth, as the rest of the group is filmed running over yelling and starting to kick the cop.
Another officer appears and screams “get back” as she attempts to push them away.
One person carrying a baseball bat tries to go to the cop’s aid, while another bystander takes a selfie.
The officer hits the man on the pavement with a baton, as she is jostled by the rest of the group.
Eventually she pulls out what appears to be pepper spray and uses it on the men as they shout “my eyes”.
Witnesses said at least ten officers arrived on the scene for back up.
Two men – aged 20 and 38 – were arrested on suspicion of assault on police. They are in custody at an east London police station.
Home Secretary Priti Patel spoke out to slam the attack, saying it was “disgusting”.
She tweeted : “Sickening, shocking & disgraceful. My thoughts are with the outstanding Met Police UK officers who were subject to this disgusting violent attack.”
A top cop today said people filming attacks on police has become “almost like a hobby”.
John Apter, the national chairman of the Police Federation, described the attack as “truly stomach churning”.
He told the BBC: “It was horrific to watch because you didn’t know what was going to come next.
“In 2018/19, there were over 30,000 assaults on police officers across England and Wales alone.
“That’s 85 police officers a day, every single day, being assaulted. And many of them are videoed.
“It’s almost like a hobby for some now to video an attack on a police officer and put it on social media.
“Not to assist an investigation, but to mock my colleagues and to, almost, encourage violence against them.”
Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said: “Yet again this starkly shows the dangers [officers] face and the bravery they show each and every day keeping Londoners safe.
“We are not society’s punchbags. We have families we want to go home to at the end of every shift, but the dangers are stark and seemingly escalating.”
John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation, said: “Horrific, stomach churning scenes.
“Disgusting behaviour from those who attack the officers, those who film what’s going on and those who do nothing. They are cowards, the lot of them.”
And Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, added that he “utterly condemned” the disgraceful attack.
He said: “These brave officers were doing their duty and assisting the public. We owe them a debt of gratitude and I wish them a full and speedy recovery.
“Attacks on our police will not be tolerated. I urge anyone with information to come forward to ensure the perpetrators of this disgusting attack feel the full force of the law.”
Superintendent Martin Rolston, from the Central East Command Unit, said: “This incident, which was captured on someone’s mobile phone is truly shocking.