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More than 170 police officers were attacked in the line of duty on the streets of Camden last year.

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Men and woman in the force were stabbed, punched and spat on as they patrolled the borough, in a year which saw police clash with rioters in Camden Town and sweep a drug ring from the streets of Gospel Oak.

It was revealed this week that 80 people have been charged with assault offences against police officers – ranging from serious wounding to actual bodily harm.

Figures released to the Ham&High under the Freedom of Information Act show that 178 officers in the borough were reported to have been assaulted between January and December.

One officer was dragged to the ground and punched last summer while posing as a drug user in an operation to break up the QC gang’s drug dealing operation around Queen’s Crescent.

In a separate incident, Pc Martin East suffered a fractured jaw when he was punched by a martial arts expert following a stop and search near Camden Lock.

Pc East, whose face was badly swollen following the attack, was out of action for three weeks while his injuries healed.

Borough commander Det Ch Supt John Sutherland, who was left with stitches in his own mouth after being punched on duty in west London, said police injuries were ‘‘par for the course’’.

“It’s an operational hazard, or to put it another way, it is the everyday heroism of the people who police the streets of London,” he said.

“One of the things that I admire most about the officers who patrol the borough is that every day they knowingly put themselves in harms way.

‘‘They do that on behalf of the people of Camden and they have my upmost admiration.

“In general terms 95 per cent of the time we are reasonably well rewarded for what we do, but for the remaining five per cent, no amount of money is enough for the situations officers place themselves in.”

This week alone five people have been charged with assaulting police officers and at the height of violence towards officers last year in July there were 25 reports of officers being attacked.

Det Supt Richard Tucker, head of CID in Camden, said: “You never know what’s going to happen and that’s why we like the job. You can do all the risk assessments you want before an operation, but there is always that unknown element of danger when you stop someone.”

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