Women police officers injured in fight

Two women police officers were assaulted after stepping in to break up a late-night fight between 15 youths at a market town recreation ground, it was revealed today.

Two women police officers were attacked after stepping in to break up a late-night fight between 15 youths at a market town recreation ground.

One of the officers was punched in the face, causing a suspected broken nose, and the other was kicked and pushed.

During the fight, two cars were damaged and a 16-year-old boy needed hospital treatment for head injuries. He was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital but released the next day.

It happened between 11pm and 11.10pm on Friday at the Wilderness Lane recreation ground in Harleston.

The fight involved two gangs, one from Harleston and the other from Diss, and it is thought possible that the fight could have been pre-arranged.

Sgt Steve Gorbutt said: “We are treating this as a serious incident involving high levels of violence and we will be targeting the area over coming weeks.

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“We will be taking positive action to stop any further incidents of violence or anti-social behaviour and to reassure the residents of Harleston.”

Three people have been arrested - and police promise more will follow.

All three are males from the Diss area and have now been released on police bail pending further inquiries.

They are: A 20-year-old arrested for violent disorder, an 18-year-old arrested for violent disorder and assaulting a police officer, and a second 18-year-old arrested for assaulting both a police officer and the 16-year-old, violent disorder and criminal damage.

The Rev Clive Hudson, district councillor for Harleston, said youths had used the recreation ground as a meeting point for a number of years, but that bad behaviour was rare - although gates had begun to be locked at night to stop joyriding.

Until recently, Harleston had a youth club but under budget cutbacks that was scrapped.

There are plans to place a new youth club on the recreation ground in a portable cabin - a project that was boosted by a £4,700 grant from the EDP and Saffron Housing Trust in our recent community competition to give away £25,000.

Mr Hudson said: “I want to comm-iserate with anyone attacked while doing their job in a responsible way and hope that all the attackers are brought to justice. But another important thing is to get to the bottom of why this happened. The people in the youth service work hard but Harleston did lose its youth club.”

Witnesses or those with information are asked to call PC Rick Hulme on 0845 456 4567.