26 Dec 2012

Alcohol-fuelled attacks by 'idiot fringe' a worry

10:33 pm on 26 December 2012

Police are warning people who assault officers they will face the full brunt of the law, as law enforcement staff around the country cope with a spate of holiday-season attacks.

An incident in Dargaville sent two officers to hospital and seven people to court after a woman attacked police with brick and tried to shoot a policeman with his own taser.

And in the Waikato, three other attacks were apparently fuelled by alcohol:

* at Huntly, a policeman was king hit from behind on Christmas night;

* a domestic disturbance left a policewoman with a broken ankle; and,

* a callout to a row over Christmas lights at Matamata ended with a policeman being attacked by a mother and her son.

In the wake of the attacks, police say they're appalled at the actions of what they call the 'idiot fringe', and are urging people need to take it easy with alcohol.

Superintendent Bruce Bird says the attacks aren't good enough and are getting in the way of police trying to do their job safely.

He says offenders will face heavy consequences.

Mr Bird says the incidents are solely down to offenders' poor judgment, fuelled by lots of alcohol.

In the Huntly incident, Inspector Paul Carpenter says the two officers were following up a complaint about racing and spoke to five youths in a car, but the driver fled the scene on foot.

He was found at James Henry St, where two separate parties were underway.

As officers tried to arrest him, he began to resist and another man king hit one of the officers from behind, knocking him to the ground, as a crowd surrounded the patrol car.

The other officer managed to call reinforcements.

The officer was treated for grazing and a cut above one eye.

At Dargaville, two police officers needed hospital treatment after being attacked by a group of young drunks.

The incident began at about 8pm on Christmas Day after a group of people were seen damaging letter boxes and street signs.

Police say officers found the group at a party in Tirarau St, where they assaulted the officers by punching and kicking them to the ground.

One officer was knocked unconscious and a second police officer who tried to protect him was kicked in the head.

Police said one woman used a brick as a weapon and tried to shoot a police officer with his own taser. She then smashed it when it failed to fire.

Five men and two women were arrested on a number of charges including escaping from custody.

Most of the seven people alleged to have been involved were due to appear Whangarei District Court on Boxing Day for remand to a hearing in the New Year.

Police say further charges are likely to be laid.

Both officers were treated at Dargaville hospital and released.

Inspector Tracy Phillips told Summer Report the two officers are battered and bruised.

She said they were well prepared and also carrying batons, but could not have anticipated the attack.

In another incident on Friday night, an officer had her ankle broken and at the weekend another officer was attacked by a woman and her son in Matamata.