Man arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after police officer suffers serious burns

11 September 2020, 13:12 | Updated: 12 September 2020, 00:18

Rachael Kennedy

By Rachael Kennedy

A police officer has been airlifted to hospital in Cornwall after being attacked and suffering "severe injuries", the force has said.

The officer, who has not been named, is said to have been assaulted while attending a call in Newquay on Friday morning, and later sustained "a number of burns" to his arms and legs.

The officer - who is well known in the town and a former soldier in the Army - was assisting bailiffs during a civil eviction from private land on Trevenson Road when he suffered the burns.

His injuries have been described as "severe" but not life-threatening.

A 30-year-old man has since been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and is currently being held in custody.

In a statement, Devon and Cornwall Police said the officer had been responding to a call about a man "behaving aggressively" on Trevenson Road just after 10am.

The Home Secretary condemned the attack, describing it as a "truly appalling and unacceptable incident".

Chief Superintendent Ian Drummond-Smith, police commander for Cornwall, said officers had been called to assist bailiffs who were carrying out an eviction on private land.

"The injured officer is a Newquay officer. He's a very well-known and very well-respected officer from the town," he told reporters.

"He has sustained significant injury but I am pleased to say it's not life-threatening. He is conscious, he is sat up in his hospital bed and he's talking to us on the telephone.

"He is in good spirits."

Mr Drummond-Smith commended police officers who "turned up in great numbers from all around the county, very quickly", saying that "without a doubt, some of their actions saved the injured officer's life".

He said the incident demonstrated "the bravery of police officers up and down the country".

The burns to the officer were caused by fire and not any chemical or corrosive substance.

In a statement, police said: "Whilst at the scene an officer has been assaulted and sustained a number of burns to his arms and legs – the officer has severe injuries but they are not currently believed to be life-threatening.

"He has been taken to Treliske hospital by air ambulance and his next of kin have been informed.

"A 30-year-old man, from Newquay, has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder of a police officer and remains in police custody at this time.

"Emergency services remain at the scene at this time."