More than 40 PSNI officers assaulted in Northern Ireland in a week

PSNI Chief Constable says injuries include broken fingers and dislocated knee, and that several officers had been spat upon

More than 40 police officers have been assaulted in Northern Ireland in the last week, PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne said.

A number of officers were left injured following the spate of attacks, with a dislocated shoulder and several broken fingers among injuries reported.

At the weekend, two officers were injured after a car rammed their police vehicle in Strabane, Co Tyrone. They were unable to continue with their duties, and the vehicle was put out of action.

They had been attempting to halt a suspected uninsured vehicle, but it failed to stop, and instead mounted a footpath before ramming the police car and fleeing across the Border into the Republic.


Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris described the figures as “both alarming and disappointing”.

“My thoughts are with those injured, and I commend all PSNI officers for the work they do on a daily basis to keep the people of Northern Ireland safe. I hope those responsible are brought to justice,” he said.

On Monday, Mr Byrne revealed that 43 of his officers had been assaulted in the last seven days in 30 separate incidents.

He tweeted that injuries included broken fingers and a dislocated knee, adding that several of the officers had been spat upon.

To date, 18 people have been charged with related offences, he said.

A spokesperson for the Police Federation, which represents officers, described an “appalling catalogue of assaults on our men and women”.

“Our officers are not some kind of punchbag for the ills of society,” the spokesperson said. “They are people who work without fear or favour to safeguard people and property. They do not deserve to be on the receiving end of thuggish and violent behaviour.

“Officers who are injured are often unable to continue with their duties, and that means officer numbers are depleted and the community suffers. Undeterred by thugs, officers will continue to deliver everyday policing in the grip of an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis.

“The courts must use the full extent of powers at their disposal to send a clear message to would-be assailants that attacks will carry severe penalties and will be no longer tolerated.”