Police officers must be equipped with full protective kit at protests as 'situations turn hostile in an instant'

Police officers must have the right equipment to protect them during violent protests as "situations can turn hostile in an instant", the chairman of a Yorkshire police federation has said.

The safety of police officers at protests has been highlighted after an officer sustained a significant slash wound to his face after he was attacked by protestors at the Old Trafford football ground in Manchester.

The officer now has life-changing injuries and was lucky not to have lost his sight in one eye as a result of the attack.

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Greater Manchester Police Federation has now called for officers to be appropriately equipped - including with helmets and shields - when policing protests.

The protests at Old Trafford.

South Yorkshire Police Federation Chairman Steve Kent is in agreement with this and has said police should pay less attention to public perception and instead prioritise the safety of officers.

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"In the past I have heard of too many occasions where officers have not been in full public order PPE, the situation has changed so quickly that they haven't had time to go and get their kit on, and we are left with officers in very vulnerable positions.

"The recent examples of London and Old Trafford highlight this perfectly and show that situations can turn hostile in an instant. It might not be popular in the warm weather, however officers have to be in their kit from minute one when dealing with protests or potential public order situations to make sure they are as safe as possible."