Footage of a man beating a policewoman and ripping out a large chunk of her hair has been released, prompting calls for more efforts to highlight the impact of assault and abuse on officers.
PC Emma Agyei was assaulted in May 2017 after she was called out with other officers to a domestic incident in Bradley. A 50-year-old man was arrested, by her fellow officers from West Midlands Police
Footage from her body-cam shows the moment she is forced to the floor by a 24-year-old man – the suspect’s son – after asking him to move away from her colleagues while they carried out the arrest.
She can be heard screaming as he “smashes” her head on the ground and “wrenches” out a large chunk of her hair.
The footage then shows PC Agyei walking to the police car holding out her injured arm and breathing heavily. She tells other officers she is “fine” before getting in the car and, once alone, saying “Oh my God”.
Her attacker pleaded guilty to assault and was given a 12 weeks suspended sentence.
“We ended up on the floor together where he’s grabbed me by the back of my head and smashed my head on the road a couple of times. He’s wrenched my hair out and he held me by the throat,” said PC Agyei.
“I was there for literally seconds but it felt like a long time until one of my colleagues was able to pull him off me.”
PC Emma Agyei describes moment she was attacked while on duty
She added: “I was in complete shock, because at the time he was pushing me and attacking me I was thinking I can’t believe this is happening, what do I do now?
“I was trying to think of all the moves we’d been taught and what to do, but it was literally a matter of seconds. I couldn’t say very much for a while afterwards.”
PC Agyei’s ordeal was one of many, with figures showing two officers or police staff report being assaulted or racially or verbally abused every day in the West Midlands.
Between April and December 2017, 669 assaults on officers and staff from the force were recorded.
As a result, 356 days were lost as the brave bobbies recovered from their injuries with a cost – equivalent to around £65,000 in sick pay.
One of the country’s top police constables is now personally taking steps to highlight the impact of officers or police staff being assaulted or abused on our streets.
Chief Constable Dave Thompson, of West Midlands Police, said: “I am stepping up to highlight the impact of assaults on our communities. Officers, PCSOs and staff are often the first and last line of defence.
“Our officers will always do the right thing and routinely put themselves in harm’s way to protect the public, but we need to bring to justice criminals who think that it is okay to abuse and hit out.
“Time off recovering from a senseless attack is time taken away from the very communities that need them policing their streets and protecting them.“
He said the rate at which officers are assaulted while carrying out their duties was “unacceptable”, adding: “No officer or member of staff should come to work and accept that being assaulted or abused is simply part of the job.
“As a victim of crime, they will be offered the same service any member of the public would expect. As an employer, we’re doing the right thing and adding in an additional layer of support.“
“All too often police officers and staff are subjected to assaults and threats. While the severity of such attacks changes, the impact upon society does not. It is never acceptable to assume that assaults upon police officers and staff should be tolerated, they are not ‘part of the job’.”
Backing the Chief Constable’s tough stance, Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: “I am pleased that the Chief Constable is getting tough on these unacceptable crimes.
“The police protect the public, it is therefore important we protect our officers, PCSOs and staff too. Officers and staff should not have to put up with violence and assaults whilst keeping the public safe.
“West Midlands Police takes assaults against its staff and officers incredibly seriously. The force will do all in its power to bring those who commit such crimes to justice.”