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Only help us if it’s safe, police chief tells public

Flying kick: Clip of the attack on police officers in Merton

A POLICE chief says the public should only intervene in the arrest of ‘difficult’ suspects if it is ‘safe to do so’.

Met Police Dep Comm Sir Steve House spoke out after footage of two officers being attacked as they tried to make an arrest was shared online.

The clip sparked debate when Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, warned that suspects could go free if officers weren’t backed up by members of the public.

Support: Sir Steve House

‘We don’t come to work to get assaulted, and if we’re not going to be backed up in what we’re doing then what is the point?’ he said. ‘Are we now in a society where, if we think we can’t detain somebody, we just let them go?’

The video, posted on Twitter and captioned ‘south London at night… lol’, showed one officer being dragged along a road in Merton, while the other took a flying kung fu-style kick to the chest sending her into the path of a bus. A motorcyclist came to their aid.

The policewoman was left with head injuries and her male colleague suffered cuts. A 20-year-old man has been charged with assault. Sir Steve said: ‘Whilst officers should never expect to be attacked as part of their job, a core part of safety training is ensuring they know how to respond to volatile situations.

‘Officers are issued with protective equipment, and I am mindful members of the public do not have access to such items. While any officer would be grateful for the public to assist with a difficult arrest, they should only intervene if they can safely do so.’ Officers know they have ‘overwhelming public support,’ he added.