Police officer stabbed in head with machete caught 'frenzied' attack on body camera

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer

A police officer who was stabbed multiple times with a machete during a “sudden and brutal attack” will recover, his bosses have said.

The officer was stabbed in the head and body at around midnight on Thursday after attempting to stop a van without insurance at the junction of Coopers Lane and Leyton High Road in Leyton, east London.

The vehicle's driver, aged in his 50s, failed to stop and then got out of the van and injured the officer with the machete, police said.

But the patrol officer managed to use his Taser despite having been stabbed, with the alleged attacker then arrested by another officer.

Police were filmed attending to the injured officer following the attack on Coopers Lane in Leyton (PA)
The injured officer was taken to Royal London hospital after he was treated at the scene (PA)

Detective Chief Superintendent Richard Tucker said the attack - that was captured on the officer’s bodycam - was “frenzied and unprovoked” but said the officer is “fine” and “will make a recovery”.

He is being treated for a wound to the side of his head, which requires stitches, and will have an operation at Royal London hospital on an injured hand from fending off the attacker.

DCS Tucker said: "Having engaged the driver, who was quite aggressive... he then tries to make off, gets back in the van, and a violent struggle ensues where he produces a weapon and stabs our officer in the head and around the body."

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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."

Mr Tucker said it was "probably too soon to say" if the incident was an argument for all officers to be armed with Tasers.

The attack on the officer was described as 'brutal' and 'frenzied' (PA)
A van, believed to have been driven by the attacker, is loaded at the scene in Leyton this morning (PA)

Asked if it was a symptom of people having "less fear of the police", Mr Tucker, who has been at Scotland Yard for 33 years, said: "I'll have to go and reflect on that.

"I've been in the police a long time, there is certainly a sense of a lack of respect not just for the police but for authority, whether that's people who work in a shop, drive a bus, ambulance staff."

He added: "We want people to work for the police and this is a call for special people to come and join the police, who are courageous and brave and willing to go out and actually confront these types of people."

Uber driver Muhammad Faisal, 31, witnessed the aftermath of the attack and said he saw a suspect being held face down on the floor before being bundled into the back of a police van, while the officer was being treated.

"We saw someone lying on the road. Next to him was his police uniform," he said.

"They were providing him assistance to his head. We didn't see the wound, but we saw a lot of blood.”

“I saw one police officer was holding a knife. It was a machete," he added, describing the blade as "around a foot long".

Police remained at the site of the attack on Thursday morning (PA)

“All this time they were providing first aid, or trying to stop the bleeding and giving him CPR. The first time we saw him moving his leg and speaking to his colleagues was after about five to seven minutes,” he said.

“The officer was on the ground for between 15 and 20 minutes from when we started looking.”

He added: “This was a shocking incident. I have witnessed a lot of things, I have witnessed a lot of fights. This one was shocking – the amount of officers, the paramedics.

“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.”

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.

How Tasers work when apprehending a suspect (PA)

North East Command Unit's inspector Julia James described the assault as a "sudden and brutal attack".

She added: "What began as a routine vehicle stop has transformed very quickly and unexpectedly into an unprovoked attack with a weapon.

"Our thoughts are with the injured officer and his family and we wish him a full recovery.

"I would like to commend his bravery and resilience especially as he managed to draw a Taser, despite being repeatedly stabbed, to prevent the suspect harming anyone else and to protect himself from further injury.

"This incident highlights the very real risk that police officers can be confronted with on a daily basis and the courage and professionalism officers demonstrate when doing their job.”

Reacting to 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 added: "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% 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% from the previous year - while 10,399 were crimes of "assault with injury on a constable", an increase of 27% from the previous year.

Anyone who witnessed the incident is urged to call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 and quote reference CAD3/8August.

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