Wiltshire

Wiltshire Police officer's attack was 'darkest moment in my life'

Footage from assault Image copyright Wiltshire Police
Image caption PC Mat Baker said he believed he was "fighting for my life" during the incident

A police officer attacked by a man he was trying to restrain said it was one of the "darkest moments" in his life.

PC Mat Baker and his colleague were bitten and strangled during the assault in Highworth in July 2017, and he said he was "fighting for my life".

The officer's account of the attack was shown on the BBC One documentary series Critical Incident this week.

In the past two years, assaults on Wiltshire Police officers have almost doubled.

Recalling the attack, PC Baker said: "I heard my colleague saying 'he's got his hand on my throat' and this guy's repeatedly saying 'I'm going to kill you. You're going to die. You're dead'. Repeatedly.

"You then start to wonder am I actually in the fight for my life. Yeah, I was in a fight for my life. It is that simple."

He said he and his colleague "shared one of the darkest moments of our lives".

Image caption PC Baker said more than a year later he is still waiting for the traumatic memories to fade

PC Baker described attacks on emergency service personnel as "heinous", and said more than a year later he was still waiting for the traumatic memories to "fade into nothing".

His attacker admitted assault charges in January 2018 and received a 14-month suspended jail term.

Wiltshire Police deputy chief constable Maggie Blyth said: "What happened to Mat was dreadful and no police officer should come to work and be subjected to the sort of assault that he was.

"Sadly we have seen an increase in police officer assaults last year in Wiltshire, and that's mirrored across the country."

The force has adopted a seven point package of measures to help support officers assaulted in the execution of their duty, she added.

Figures from Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Angus Macpherson last year showed there were 55 assaults on officers in 2016/17 and 103 in 2017/18.

"As with any job there are highs and lows, but being injured and abused on duty should not be part and parcel of working for the police," he said.

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