Body worn footage from Northumbria Police
Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt from Northumbria Police has today (6 July) welcomed the custodial sentence handed to a man after he violently assaulted one of the force's officers and a paramedic.
The emergency workers had been called to Summerhill in Sunderland in April after 35-year-old Martin Pace had been found passed out, intoxicated, in the middle of the day.
When they attempted to provide him with medical attention he started to behave in an aggressive manner. PC Luke Baker, who had only been qualified as a police officer for 18 months, then tried to arrest him for being drunk and disorderly.
During efforts to apprehend him, PC Baker says Pace threw him to the ground, climbed on top of him and grabbed his hair as residents watched on. He also grabbed the officer's baton from his belt to use against him.
Body worn footage was played to the court that showed Pace swinging the baton at the officers and paramedics while attempting to bite them in a bid to escape.
Pace, of Sumerhill, Sunderland, was later charged with two counts of assaulting emergency workers. He admitted the offences and was jailed for eight months.
At the time of the offence, the 35-year-old was subject to a community order for spitting at a police officer who had responded to a report of him loitering in Sunderland city centre wearing just his boxers.
Today, Chief Supt Pitt has praised the professionalism of PC Baker and the paramedics who supported him, while also condemning the actions of the drunken thug.
“I do want to take this opportunity to praise the professionalism and bravery PC Baker showed throughout this incident. He certainly acted with the integrity that we are proud to see in an officer of Northumbria Police.
“I also want to extend our thanks to the paramedics from the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) who also intervened and equally do not deserve to be subjected to violence while trying to offer their help.”
PC Baker, who is based at Southwick Police Station, adds, “This offender had been abusive and acting in a disorderly manner so when he refused our help I couldn’t let him leave the area and go on to commit further criminal offences. When he turned on me, it was intimidating."
"I obviously never expect to be assaulted when I’m trying to offer my support but unfortunately assaults like this are not rare. I’m just glad to see this particular offender put behind bars."
Alan Gallagher, head of risk and regulatory services, says, “We might be from different services but we are one big emergency service family and an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.
“I’m pleased to see that the impact on our staff and other emergency service colleagues has been recognised and hope it sends a strong message to the minority of the public who seem to forget that there is a human behind every uniform.”
Newcastle Crown Court heard that Pace had ten previous convictions and that his offending had been driven by his alcohol addiction for which he hopes to get help for while behind bars.