Officers have condemned the actions of a suspect that kicked and spat at a colleague while making an arrest.
The South Yorkshire Police inspector was reportedly attempting to detain someone in Barnsley when she came under attack.
News of the assault comes in the wake of the introduction of spit guards to the force earlier this year, designed to offer a “safe and practical barrier” to protect officers.
The South Yorkshire force, which has stressed the guards are only used by custody officers on a detainee who has already spat or threatened to do so, said their implementation was necessary as a member of staff is spat at – at least once a day.
Chief Inspector Chris Foster applauded the unnamed female officer for the “great effort” under severe provocation, adding: “Why do people behave like this?
“Thankfully she’s OK, but no one comes to work to get assaulted.”
Colleagues and members of the public expressed their disgust in supportive messages.
Detective Superintendent Una Jennings tweeted: “Absolutely horrible… thinking about you”, while Stephanie Harman wrote: “This is totally unacceptable. I couldn’t thank people like them enough for keeping people like me safe.”
When news of the spit guard launch was initially announced last December, Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts said: “Our staff should be able to come to work and do their job, without being assaulted.
“The safety and welfare of our officers is paramount, in order to allow them to continue their role in protecting the public of South Yorkshire.
“The introduction of spit guards will offer a safe and practical barrier to protect our officers.”
The guards were due to be rolled out to frontline officers in March but as yet “remain in custody only at this time”, a force spokeswoman told Police Oracle.