An off-duty Durham Constabulary police officer and her partner stepped in to protect an Asda shop assistant from a violent assault in Stanley, only to be left with permanent scars themselves.
The couple were shopping in July 2021 when they witnessed Brittany Shea, 26, punch the cashier in the head.
Identifying themselves as off-duty officers, the brave duo restrained Shea, who then bit both officers.
The incident left them requiring hospital treatment and permanent scarring.
This case highlights a concerning trend in Durham, where assaults on police officers have risen by 15% between April 2021 and March 2022.
A shocking 583 assaults were reported, up from 505 the previous year.
Out of these assaults, 437 targeted on-duty officers and 46 were against off-duty officers. A total of 237 incidents resulted in injuries.
Pushes or shoves were the most common form of assault, with 258 cases, followed by punches or kicks (145).
Officers were also spat at (42), head-butted (21), and bitten (12).
Men were responsible for 477 assaults, while women committed the remaining 106. The average age of the offenders was 34.
Streets were the most common location for assaults (283), followed by police stations (104) and private properties (75). Most assaults (443) took place during the day, with 140 occurring at night.
Furthermore, the Home Office reports that the number of assaults on police officers in England and Wales has surged by 20% in the past year.
In 2021/22, there were 36,969 assaults on police officers, up from 30,800 in 2020/21.
Shea, who also calls herself Amoshett Mullins, pleaded guilty to two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and one count of assault.
At Peterlee Magistrates’ Court, District Judge Steven Hood praised the officers for their actions to protect the public that day, stating, “Police officers are never off duty, as it’s said.”
After listening to her mitigation, Judge Hood handed Shea the maximum community order of two years, 40 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement Days, and 130 hours of unpaid work.
Shea, of Kettering, Northamptonshire, was also ordered to pay £400 in compensation to each officer.
Judge Hood emphasised to Shea, “I cannot emphasise enough how close you were to a custodial sentence.”