Case study: South Yorkshire - punched and spat on

PC Dean Portman has experienced more than his fair share of violence, but one thing he can never get used to, are the offenders who spit.

“Spitting is one of the most disgusting things,” said the ex-army sergeant, who now polices in Barnsley. “We can catch whatever they have got. I would rather be punched.”

PC Portman and a colleague were called to domestic incident where a man and woman had been assaulted by the woman’s brother. The officers saw him returning to the property and blocked his path. PC Portman said: “He took an instant dislike to me. He said ‘you can’t stop me from walking past’ – I said I can because you are under arrest on suspicion of assault.”

The man ran away but was caught by PC Portman. He punched the officer and, after he was leg swiped to the ground, turned and spat blood. He was given a 14 week suspended sentence.

Another time PC Portman confronted a young man who had been causing trouble outside a club. The offender was wearing a large ring and punched PC Portman in the face. The officer pushed him away with both palms. He fell and collided with a post. He head-butted another officer while being escorted to a police van.

PC Portman supports the wider roll-out of body worn video as a means of securing convictions against those who assault officers, adding: “The video evidence speaks a thousand words.”