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Violence against police escalating, with around 1500 officers assaulted last year

Bashed with a baseball bat, kicked, punched, jaws broken and knocked unconscious - these are some of the injuries suffered by officers patrolling New Zealand’s streets, says Police Association president Chris Cahill.

New Zealand Police Association president Chris Cahill. (Rebekah Parsons-King) Source: rnz.co.nz

It comes after video footage from outside an Auckland petrol station at the weekend shows an officer fall to the ground, before a man takes multiple swings at his head. Two officers were injured in the incident.

"It's obviously concerning, it's just getting the public to see what police are experiencing every day," Cahill said of the video, filmed in Henderson in the early hours of Sunday.

But the shocking footage wasn't surprising to Cahill.

Around 1500 police officers were assaulted last year, with about 350 resulting in injuries, he told 1 NEWS this morning.

"That's nearly one a day."

Last week, 1 NEWS also reported police officers in New Zealand have been shot at or confronted with a gun at least 44 times in the past two years.

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In a rare interview, a serving police officer tells us of his fears that each day on the job could be his last. Source: 1 NEWS

Cahill added that people under the influence of drugs and alcohol were more likely to act dangerously towards police.

But he said it wasn't just the physical injuries, with the officers and their families enduring psychological harm from these attacks.

"They come home with a black eye, their family and children see that," he said.

While the dangers job of policing is nothing new, Cahill said the seriousness had increased in recent years.

He said it was "hard to say" why there had been a spike, but said a possible contributing factor was a "low bar" in our legal system, with the reluctance of courts to increase sentencing for harming officers.

Cahill said he'd like to see more police training for dealing with those with firearms. It comes after an officer patrolling alone was taken to hospital after being shot in the shoulder in Hamilton just over a week ago.

That shooting comes after 28-year-old Constable Matthew Hunt was shot and killed during a routine traffic stop in West Auckland in last year. He is among 33 officers killed by a criminal act while carrying out their duties in New Zealand's history.

Cahill would also like to see more evidence of body cameras on police, and suggested a trial of the technology on New Zealand's streets.

He said it has improved offenders' behaviour if they know they're on camera in a prison environment, but it was different to in public.

"I'm keen to see evidence of it [use overseas] and keen to see it trialled."

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Founder of WARN International, Lance Burdett, says several factors have led to "a perfect storm" of heightened tensions. Source: Breakfast

His comments come after founder of WARN International, Lance Burdett, suggested a trial of arming police amid heightened tensions and violence, both in New Zealand and globally.

Burdett, who has been a member of the New Zealand Police for 22 years, 13 of them as a crisis negotiator and instructor specialising in predicting violent behaviour, told Breakfast Covid-19 stress, including isolation from others, alcohol and drug use, and being on cell phones have all led to "a perfect storm" of heightened tensions.

He said violence has increased 20 per cent globally amid the pandemic, including domestic violence, gun violence and arguments in the workplace.

"Fight or flight. We're becoming angrier than ever before and also sadder than ever before."

Send your news tips to Rebecca.Moore@tvnz.co.nz