NORTH Yorkshire police have condemned a shocking series of assaults on staff in the first week of the new year with officers attacked, injured or verbally abused and threatened while trying to do their job.

A force spokesman said the violence started at one minute past midnight on January 1 when Darren Robert Hamilton became violent at a hotel in York, resisted arrest and assaulted three police officers.

The 31-year-old, of Elwick, Hartlepool, was jailed by York magistrates after he pleaded guilty to assaulting three police officers and three other people.

Minutes after dealing with that officers were called to another incident, where a man was reported to be acting in a violent manner, and found him sitting in a car inside a garage.which he started to drive towards them.

The spokesman said: “The officers managed to open the car door and arrest the driver, resulting in minor physical injuries to one officer. A 40-year-old man has been charged with assault and affray.”

Later they spoke to a man who racially abused one of the officers resulting in him being arrested. In the early hours of Saturday three officers received whiplash injuries when a suspected drink driver rammed the police van they were travelling in. In Harrogate, two officers acting as good samaritans for a drunk man ended up being assaulted by him – with one of them suffering a broken finger.

Assistant Chief Constable Mike Walker said: “Many of my colleagues have spent Christmas and New Year on duty, working hard to keep our communities safe.That’s why it is so disappointing to see an unacceptable number of them have been subjected to abuse, assaults and threats.

“Although police regularly place themselves in harm's way to protect others, it is never right to assume that they themselves should expect to be attacked or injured as ‘part of the job’. Such assaults are completely unacceptable. I am incredibly proud of my colleagues who have continued to provide a professional service to all those in need of our help.

“Members of the public can be reassured we will be here for them. And those who subject us to assaults and threats will find themselves dealt with robustly, and put before the courts to answer for their crimes.”