Brave bobbies put lives on the line to keep South Yorkshire safe

South Yorkshire bobbies have been attacked with an axe, throttled, bitten and knocked unconscious in a series of shocking attacks.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 8th November 2016, 12:38 pm
Updated Friday, 18th November 2016, 11:21 am
Chief Supt David Hartley
Chief Supt David Hartley

In one of the most serious attacks over recent years, PC Lisa Bates was left fighting for life after she was struck with an axe while responding to a call about a domestic incident at a flat in Plowright Close, Gleadless Valley, Sheffield, in April.

The brave bobby suffered a fractured skull and a severed finger as her attacker, Nathan Sumner, 35, rained forceful blows upon her.

Police chiefs suspect that without the intervention of neighbour Simon Ellis, who witnessed the attack and dragged PC Bates to the safety of his flat, the officer could have been killed.

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Sumner was found guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent after a trial and is to be sentenced next month.

PC Bates underwent emergency surgery after her ordeal, with another operation still needed, and it is not yet known whether she will ever return to frontline duties.

The attack is one of a number which police chiefs say demonstrate the dangers officers face on a daily basis as they strive to keep the county safe - putting themselves in harm's way in the never ending fight against crime.

In September, a police officer needed reconstructive surgery on his ear after an attack in Woodhead Drive, Blacker Hill, Barnsley, and the month before another police officer was rendered unconscious after he was throttled in an attack in Farquhar Road, Maltby, Rotherham.

South Yorkshire Police figures show that there were 112 officers injured in attacks last year, up from 77 the year before.

Chief Superintendent David Hartley, Sheffield's District Commander, said he hears tales of police officer 'heroism' daily.

"Staff perform brave and courageous acts on a daily basis," he said.

"Every police officer joins the service knowing that they will have to get in harm’s way at some point to keep the public they serve safe.

"They are trained and equipped to try and use the spoken word to defuse and de-conflict situations, however, the reality of policing is that sometimes, despite all best efforts, officers will face resistance and sometimes violence.

"There should never be an acceptance that officers getting attacked, assaulted, or worse, is normal and just part of the job. It should cause concern, anger and revulsion from our communities as police officers are part of the community and just doing their best to keep everyone safe and free from crime.

"With the quite drastic reduction in police officer numbers in the last five years, far more officers have to work alone, and support is not as close and speedy as it once was. Attacks and assaults have increased.

"Our communities only occasionally hear about the courageous and brave actions of their officers keeping them safe by tackling and dealing with the worst society can throw at them. I hear about it on a daily basis and I am continually humbled by the actions officers take, often alone, and often when facing real danger.

"When I do hear that an officer has been injured it is a moment when my own blood runs cold. Policing is a very tight family and any colleague getting hurt is one of the moments when every other professional and domestic demand is parked until I know what happened, how the officers is, what support is in place, and if there are any lessons to be learned.

"It is not only tough for the officers, but my concern is always for the family of the officer too. It is easy to forget that the officer is someone’s mum, daughter, dad, uncle, husband, son or wife and that they left to go to a normal day's work. It is both a risky and great thing about policing that there isn’t really a ‘normal’ day at work. You never know what the next call will be, or what will be behind the next door.

- Two Sheffield police officers were chased by a man armed with a kitchen knife when they responded to a call about a family disturbance.

When PCs Faye North and Liam Glaves arrived at the house in Frecheville on Saturday, September 17, they were met by a man who had been bitten and punched, before hearing screams from a woman who had been stabbed.

The attacker then fled the house and after spotting the police officers outside chased the pair around a parked car while brandishing the blade.

Ignoring repeated requests to drop the weapon, the suspect was eventually overpowered after PC North jumped on his back and with the help of PC Glaves wrestled the attacker to the ground.

He was later charged with assault and affray.

- City officers were threatened with a knife when they were called to a report of an armed man in a pizza takeaway shop.

PCs David Culshaw and Dan Goodinson arrived at Pizza Central in Halifax Road, Parson Cross, on Saturday, March 9 to discover that a man with a knife had threatened staff.

After spotting the officers, he said: "Come near me and I'll stab you."

He also threatened to set himself on fire, claiming to have doused himself and the shop in petrol.

He told the officers that he did not care if he or they died, before starting a fire on the counter top.

PCs Culshaw and Goodinson manged to wrestle the man to the floor and disarm him.

He was later jailed after being convicted of arson with intent to endanger life.

Sheffield's District Commander, Chief Superintendent, David Hartley, said "Throughout this incident PCs Culshaw and Goodinson demonstrated great bravery in the face of an unpredictable and violent male, whilst at the same time placing the safety of the public and the detention of the offender at the forefront of their actions."

- Police officers gave emergency first aid to a man they found unconscious in the doorway of a burning flat in Sheffield.

PCs Chris Beevers and Chelsea Rudge were the first to arrive at the scene of a house fire in Bluebell Close, Wincobank, in July 2015 and spotted a casualty slumped in the doorway.

They gave CPR in a bid to revive him and then spotted two men entering the burning flat.

With paramedics attempting to resuscitate the casualty, the brave bobbies followed the men into the flat fire and were attacked as they tried to lead them outside.

One of the men was later convicted of murder, with the casualty having been attacked before the fire was started.

Chf Supt Hartley said: "Throughout a highly pressurised situation, the officers acted selflessly putting the lives of others before their own.

"The officers remained professional, composed and dedicated throughout the incident."

- A row over smoking in a Rotherham pub led to a police officer being attacked with his own canister of CS spray.

PC Glen Hill was attacked outside The Mail Coach pub, Wellgate, in November 2012 by a man who repeatedly punched him as he lay helpless on the ground.

He was then struck over his head with his canister of CS spray, leaving him with cuts which needed stitched and glued.

PC Hill was targeted when he arrived at the pub to deal with a row which had broken out over smoking.

His attacker was jailed for two years and eight months.