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Assaulting a police officer is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated

This is the message being issued by Sussex Police after a significant number of officers were assaulted on duty on Christmas Day.

Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Rayland said: “Over the past 24 hours, we’ve seen at least 16 police officers assaulted while on duty across Sussex. This is completely unacceptable and it will not be tolerated.

“Each one of these officers has sacrificed spending Christmas with their loved ones to protect the public and catch criminals, only to be on the receiving end of offences committed by a small number of individuals.

“We are fortunate to have committed police officers who signed up to protect vulnerable people and make our towns and communities a safer place; they did not sign up to be assaulted, insulted or abused.

“While the vast majority of people in Sussex are fully supportive of our officers and our force, there is a small minority who seem to think the law does not apply to them.

“We know things are tough at the moment, especially during the festive season, but we’re all in this together. Whatever the circumstances, there is absolutely no excuse to assault a police officer, and anyone found guilty of committing such an offence will be dealt with robustly.”

Assaults on officers on Christmas Day included spitting, kicking, punching and biting, while one officer suffered a dislocated shoulder.

Of the 16 incidents recorded, 12 occurred in West Sussex and four occurred in Brighton and Hove.