Case study: Derbyshire - traumatised by frenzied attack

PC Clare Swain

PC Clare Swain

PC Clare Swain suffered a broken nose and mental trauma after she was subjected to a frenzied assault.

Her attacker, a 17-year-old girl with a track record for assaulting police, had been told she would be remanded in custody. Officers feared she may try to harm herself so PC Swain and a second officer entered a custody cell to try to talk to her.

The Derbyshire officer recalls: “She was standing on the bench getting angry. I took her arm to get her down but the other one was swinging free and she punched me hard in the face a couple of times. The next thing I knew I was on the other side of the cell with her pulling my hair and other offcers trying to get her to let go of me. In my 15 years as a police offcer this is the worst attack I’ve ever experienced. It was so out of the blue and so violent. Her screaming and shouting and the look in her eyes is something I’ll never forget and still haunts me.”

PC Swain was treated for a swollen eye and will need surgery on her nose. She has suffered migraines since the attack and is on restricted duties. Her attacker was sentenced to 12 months for the attack and other assaults on police. The officer feels this is not long enough given the violent nature of the attack and its lasting impact. She adds: “After the incident I felt numb. I was doing nothing but trying to help her.”

PC Swain is to seek counselling to get over her anxiety about returning to regular duty. Her devastated family want her to quit but she refuses to be defeated.

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