A POLICEMAN stabbed in the head and body during a ‘frenzied’ machete attack is expected to make a full recovery, telling his boss ‘I’m okay’ just hours after the incident occured.
The patrol officer, who is in his 30s, was attacked after trying to stop a van suspected of having no insurance in Leyton, east London, at around midnight last night.
The vehicle’s 56-year-old driver was Tasered by the officer despite him being seriously injured in the ‘sudden and brutal’ assault which lasted just seconds, Scotland Yard said.
Witnesses described the attacker being pinned to the ground as he was arrested by another officer, who was not armed with a Taser, before being bundled into a police van after more than a dozen emergency vehicles arrived on the scene.
The officer, who has around a decade of police experience, was treated by colleagues and paramedics in Leyton High Road as his uniform lay next to him on the ground.
Uber driver Muhammad Faisal, 31, described the aftermath as a ‘shocking’ scene.
‘They were providing him assistance to his head. We didn’t see the wound, but we saw a lot of blood,’ he said.
‘I saw one police officer was holding a knife. It was a machete,’ he added, describing the blade as ‘around a foot long’.
Mr Faisal went on: ‘The first thought was maybe the man lying on the floor had lost his life. It makes you think because it was a police officer — people on the road for our safety.
‘It gives you an emotional feeling as well. That’s why we stayed to make sure he’s alive.’
Speaking at Forest Gate Police Station after visiting the injured officer in hospital, Det Ch Supt Richard Tucker said: ‘He’s got an injury to the side of the head which requires stitching, which was incurred by the machete, and significant injuries to his hand.
‘He told me he was okay, but that’s the type of character he is — he is an amazing police officer.
‘I’m relieved that he had the taser and I’m relieved that it’s not a more serious attack.
‘It’s shocking but, unfortunately, it’s not uncommon. This is a particularly nasty event but I would say there’s always a threat being a police officer.
‘There’s been a spike in knife crime, not just in London. In this case the man arrested is not a young man, he’s in his 50s.’
As police briefed journalists at Forest Gate police station, the van which the officer had stopped was taken away on a flatbed truck for further forensic examination.
The driver, who did not require hospital treatment, has been arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm and taken to an east London police station.
The police officer is being treated for a wound to the side of his head, which requires stitches, and will have an operation on an injured hand from fending off the attacker.
Metropolitan Police Federation chairman Ken Marsh said: ‘This is horrific news. Police officers across London are out there every day at risk protecting the public – and sadly, yet again, a Metropolitan Police officer has suffered a severe injury on duty.’
He added: ‘Enough is enough. Police officers should be going home at the end of their shifts. Not to hospital.’
Politicians also expressed their shock at the attack.
Home secretary Priti Patel tweeted: ‘Absolutely horrified by the shocking stabbing of one of our brave police officers in Leyton overnight.
‘His courage in the face of danger shows how police put their lives on the line to protect us every day. I wish the officer a full recovery & my thoughts are with him.’
London mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted: ‘I am utterly appalled by this sickening attack. The men and women who serve in our police force in London are the best in the world, and their courage and dedication is inspiring.
‘I’m in contact with senior Met officers, and an arrest has been made.’
The attack comes as figures show knife possession offences committed by women and girls in England have risen by at least 10 per cent every year since 2014, with the highest number of cases in London.
The most recent police recorded crime figures released by the Office for National Statistics show there were more than 30,000 assaults on officers in England and Wales in 2018/19.
Some 20,578 were crimes of ‘assault without injury on a constable’ — up 13 per cent from the previous year — while 10,399 were crimes of ‘assault with injury on a constable’, an increase of 27 per cent from the previous year.