A POLICE officer was struck over the head 30 times with his own CS gas canister - after being called to deal with a row in a South Yorkshire pub.
The 34-year-old bobby was called by the pub manager to an argument about smoking inside The Mail Coach on Wellgate in Rotherham town centre.
But when he arrived a fight broke out, and his head was gashed by thugs who used the officer’s own CS spray can to beat him.
A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said the officer suffered a ‘deep laceration’ to his head, but was allowed home from hospital later.
Three men arrested over the attack on Monday night were still in police custody yesterday.
Eric Nayor, The Mail Coach’s proprietor for the last 23 years, said: “We don’t normally have any hassle at all.
“It is a town centre pub, it’s not The Ritz, it’s a typical little town centre pub.
“From time to time, like in any pub, you get someone doing something they shouldn’t.
“Some young men were smoking in the pub and were asked not to. They took offence and started being abusive to the manageress.
“The manager asked them to stop smoking, they said they wouldn’t, so he asked them to leave. They got aggressive so he called the police.”
Some 203 attacks on the county’s police officers were reported to the Home Office between October 2011 and September this year. Three were classed as ‘serious’ and the other 200 as ‘slight’.
Another 18 attacks on police support staff were logged, including one recorded as ‘serious’.
Today the South Yorkshire branch of the Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, branded attacks on police officers as deplorable.
Chairman Neil Bowles said: “We deplore all assaults on officers, whether superficial or serious.”
And he called for answers over the latest attack, querying why an officer was sent alone to deal with a disturbance in a pub at night.
“He is normally based at Maltby, but responded because there was nobody available at Main Street, just half a mile away,” he said.
“We also understand there was a delay in help reaching him once it became clear he needed assistance - something we are also looking into.
“Officers have to be able to protect each other within a short space of time, but if there is not the staff needed to operate safely this is a serious issue and could be a consequence of the budget cuts affecting staff numbers.”
South Yorkshire Police has had its budget slashed by £40m and has axed staff to cut costs.
Deputy Chief Constable Max Sahota said officers are no longer routinely sent to evening incidents in pairs, but denied funding cuts were to blame.
“The single crewing policy has been in place for some time, certainly before the cuts,” he said.
Condemning the attack on the officer, he added: “It is totally unacceptable when people are doing their job to protect the public.”