News

‘Disgraceful’: Two young police officers hospitalised following alleged weekend assaults

By Myles Peterson

Shepparton’s top policeman has described alleged assaults on his officers at the weekend that put two in hospital as ‘‘absolutely disgraceful’’.

A policeman and policewoman, each in their 20s, were seriously injured when trying to disperse a group of youths early yesterday morning near Numurkah Rd in Shepparton’s north.

The policewoman suffered a broken leg when attempting to arrest a youth.

The policeman was allegedly punched in the head and fell to the ground, suffering a serious concussion.

A third officer, also in his 20s, suffered a mild injury and is recovering at home.

Shepparton police Inspector Troy Hargadon did not mince words yesterday when he addressed the media following the overnight violence.

‘‘This is absolutely, unequivocally a disgraceful act — in any circumstances, in any context,’’ he said.

‘‘It doesn’t matter if you’re a member of the police force, it doesn’t matter if you’re an emergency services worker, or if you’re a member of the community.

‘‘Anyone who gets assaulted in such circumstances ... ought to be fairly significantly disappointed with the actions, and the impact it will have more broadly across the community is far-reaching.’’

The incident stemmed from the closure of a ‘‘wild party’’ on Malcolm Cres, which police shut down after noise and behaviour complaints.

Insp Hargadon said the alleged assaults occurred afterwards as police were attempting to disperse the crowd.

‘‘The police were dispersing the crowd as we often do in these scenarios. Youths will walk the streets and they will congregate in a large group and naturally we want to disperse those so that people can travel safely and use the thoroughfare safely and get home safely without any issues,’’ he said.

‘‘Police have engaged because of the conduct of these individuals and it has escalated.’’

Insp Hargadon said the officers were injured during that escalation.

‘‘A member who was trying to effect the arrest of a youth unfortunately became engaged in a wrestle and has fallen and sustained a significant leg injury as a result,’’ he said.

‘‘A second member who was dealing with a separate individual has unfortunately in the process of his effecting an arrest has been struck, has been punched to the head causing him to fall to the ground, and again sustaining a significant injury which is very, very displeasing and disappointing.’’

Two youths, aged 16, were arrested and are helping police with their inquiries.

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information about the assaults is urged to phone Shepparton police on 58205777 or Crime Stoppers on 1800333000.