Police Association President Chris Cahill said the policewoman who was punched and knocked unconscious in Auckland on Monday has severe bruising and swelling.
“It will heal, my concern is the mental harm it does to someone and that’s long term,” he said.
Police confirmed that a 27-year-old man had been arrested following the attack and was due to appear in Manukau District Court on charges of intent to injure.
Cahill said the video, which showed a man violently attacking a female police officer before attempting to flee, reveals to New Zealanders the “excruciating and unacceptable level of violence” police officers face on a daily basis.
The man was then given a Taser before being arrested by the police.
Cahill described the incident as a “ruthless and unprovoked attack”.
“The violence is raw and sadly attacks of this severity are not uncommon, with more than two thousand attacks on officers last year alone.
“Being assaulted is not ‘simply part of the job’ of keeping communities safe, and the courts must send a clear message to that effect. If the police are not protected, how are they supposed to protect Neos? -Zealander?”
A witness filmed the attack.
Cahill said the environment officers are currently working in is more violent than ever and said it needs to change quickly.
He said violence against police had escalated over the years, saying officers now faced a real risk of being attacked on a daily basis.
“I didn’t go to work expecting to be assaulted, where these days officers go to work and they know that’s a real risk on a daily basis and that’s what has changed over the years.
“No one should expect this to happen, it’s not the right environment to work in.
“It’s not just the officer, I always worry about the whanau – the parents, the partners, the kids who see their loved one go to work and spend that entire shift worrying about them.”
During the incident, as officers surrounded the man on foot, he approached a female officer and punched her in the face.
She collapsed in the street clutching her face and was treated by shocked members of the public.
A witness told the Herald that she saw blood pouring from her eyes and nose.
Members of the public rushed to help a policewoman who was knocked unconscious and lay in the middle of a Manurewa street.
The alleged attacker was then Tasered by police, however, he overcame the effects of the Taser, standing up despite the beards lodged in his back.
Speaking to AM, Cahill said Tasers were hit and miss and their impact depended on a person’s motivation and their clothing – things like jackets could be difficult to operate, he said.
“They’re by no means infallible, but they’re still a great tool.”
He said there had been “good” improvements made to training which went from three-and-a-half days to seven-and-a-half days a year.
The extended training period was still being rolled out to all regions.
“There’s so much work to do, you can’t train that much [and] have enough police there.”
The training covered a wide range of issues, including defensive tactics, conduct, mental health and family harm.
“The police are jack-of-all-trades, so it’s hard to get specialist training in all areas.
“The reality is that society needs to change the idea that the police are fair game, and the court has a place to play in that.
“At some point, there have to be deterrent sentences that say if you’re going to assault a police officer, you’re actually assaulting society in general.”