THREE female officers carrying out their duties suffered injuries in an unprovoked attack at the hands of the man they were trying to arrest.
Officers had executed a warrant at the home of John Steven Knight, in Stafford Street, Llanelli, for an unrelated matter. Because the 37-year-old was not home, PC Jaye Blanco-Martin, DC Eleri Owen and colleague who does not want to be named, attended his work in Ammanford.
As officers spoke with Knight he was initially calm and compliant. But then he tried to unlock his phone.
The DC who is not being named said: “In fear that Knight was attempting to delete evidence and frustrate a police investigation I took hold of his left arm to try and seize the phone.
“Knight’s personality and attitude towards the officers changed instantly.
“He moved his phone to his other hand and immediately started to fight us. He was pulling away clearly trying to escape.
“Out of nowhere I felt a sudden push from Knight using his full body weight and as a direct result of this blow and I fell to the ground and hit my head. I immediately felt pain and discomfort to my head and it started throbbing.”
In the struggle, all three officers ended up on the floor having been shoved and thrown into furniture, walls and a door frame.
Despite Knight’s efforts, the officers were able to arrest him, although they were left with the marks to show they had been in a struggle.
One officer suffered a suspected head injury that required a CT scan, while all three suffered cuts and bruising to various parts of their bodies.
The officer added: “I was incredibly worried for mine and my colleagues’ safety. Knight was a well built and over 6ft and had the strength to take three officers to the ground with him.”
Knight appeared at Haverfordwest Magistrates Court on September 29, the day after his arrest, on September 28, when he was sentenced to 12 months in prison.
Following the terrifying ordeal DC Owen said: “During the whole incident I was afraid not just for my safety but also my colleagues.
“That it was only three females with a male who was around 6ft 2ins resisting and assaulting officers made me feel vulnerable.
“I will never forget this, it will be something that stays with me throughout my career. I did not expect to go to work that day to be assaulted. I was just carrying out my duties.”
After a rise in such assaults, Dyfed-Powys Police has linked with Wales’ emergency services to launch the year-long ‘Work With Us, Not Against Us’ campaign.
It came after more than 4,240 assaults were committed against emergency workers, including police, fire and ambulance crews, in the period April 2019 – November 2020, representing a monthly average increase from 202 in 2019 to 222 in 2020, or 10%.
Temporary Deputy Chief Constable of Dyfed-Powys Police, Emma Ackland, said: “Assaults on police officers continues to increase and this is completely unacceptable. No officer should expect to come under any sort of attack when doing their best to serve the public and potentially save lives.
“It is vitally important that sentences given reflect the harm and upset caused to these victims – professionals doing their work.”