A Northland police officer was knocked out and his jaw dislocated when he was attacked while responding to a complaint about a stolen wallet.
The officer, understood to be a relatively new constable, was one of two who went to investigate a report of an assault and theft in Rawene about 2.45am on Thursday.
While the officers were outside a property interviewing a woman, a man approached, became aggressive, and an altercation took place. Two other men then joined in. One of the three struck the constable in the face.
Senior Sergeant Peter Robinson, of Mid North police, said the blow dislocated the officer's jaw and he fell backwards, hitting his head on the pavement. Reinforcements were called and a few hours later three men were arrested.
The man accused of throwing the punch, a 17-year-old from Rawene, was due in Kaikohe District Court yesterday charged with two counts each of aggravated assault and injuring with intent to injure.
Two other men, aged 26 and 27, also from Rawene, each face two charges of aggravated assault. Police are expected to oppose bail for all three.
A woman in her late 20s has been arrested over the initial complaint of an assault on a woman in her 50s. She was granted bail and was due back in court on Tuesday. The theft complaint was still being investigated, Mr Robinson said.
The injured officer was likely to return to work next week after he received a medical clearance. He also suffered bruising to his arm and grazes to the back of his head.
"He's okay, he's recovering at home with the support of his family and police."
The second officer was unhurt.
Senior Sergeant Brian Swann, the head of Mid North police, said it was fortunate extra police were in the area and able to assist. The extra police had come from Auckland ahead of a tangi for a gang member killed in Whangarei earlier this week.