A senior Auckland policeman is recovering from facial injuries after an alleged attack by a man he pulled over at the weekend - and it is not the first time he has been assaulted on the job.
Metro Auckland shift commander Inspector Kerry Watson was repeatedly punched in the face and head after he stopped a vehicle being driven with no headlights in Mangere on Sunday.
Counties Manukau Police spokeswoman Kimberley Matthews said Inspector Watson was patrolling the South Auckland suburb on Sunday night when he saw the car.
"He used lights and sirens in an attempt to pull the vehicle over," she said. "When the vehicle stopped less than 100m away, Inspector Watson was allegedly threatened and attacked by the driver who was the only person in the vehicle."
Mrs Matthews said a police dog unit was called to the scene and helped Inspector Watson arrest a 45-year-old man, who will appear in Manukau District Court tomorrow charged with aggravated assault, driving while disqualified, escaping custody, threatening behaviour and refusing a request for a blood sample.
Inspector Watson was treated by medical staff and is recovering at home, where he and his family were being supported by police. He does not wish to speak about the ordeal.
In 2001, Mr Watson and a colleague were attacked by up to 15 people outside a Dargaville pub when they were called to break up a fight. He was punched to the ground so hard that he partially lost consciousness, while his colleague was dragged down the street and kicked in the pelvis.
The latest attack came just two days after Napier policeman constable Adam Blummont was run down by a driver fleeing a drink-drive checkpoint.
The Police Association has condemned the serious attacks, saying they are on the rise and the Government needs to do more to protect officers.
Waitemata Police District Commander Superintendent Bill Searle said: "The welfare of our staff is important to us and we are working to support all police staff following this incident. Police should not be subject to any kind of physical violence while in the role of protecting the community."
Police Association president Senior Sergeant Greg O'Connor also condemned the attack.
"Yet another weekend has gone by with two serious assaults on police officers," he said.
"Members of the public need to remember while they're at the beach enjoying Christmas there will be police officers out there facing these risks and getting seriously assaulted in bigger numbers."
Overall, assaults on police officers were down, but serious assaults had risen 30 per cent since 2009, he said.
"There is a belief among certain parts of society that if you plant the boot and race away from police that are trying to stop you they won't pursue you."
Something needed to be done at the highest level to further protect staff.
*Sunday: Auckland shift commander Inspector Kerry Watson repeatedly punched allegedly by a man he pulled over for driving with no headlights in Mangere.
*Tomorrow: 45-year-old to appear in the Manukau District Court charged with aggravated assault, driving while disqualified, escaping custody, threatening behaviour and refusing a request for a blood sample.