Two female police officers were rushed to hospital after being injured while breaking up a morning street fight between two men in Didcot.

One officer suffered a head injury and her colleague injured her wrist during the attack at about 6.30am yesterday.

They had been called to the A4130 between Vauxhall Barracks and Great Western Park to defuse a fight between two 20-year-olds.

Bill Service, deputy leader of Didcot Town Council lambasted the officers' attackers and said the incident was "totally unacceptable".

He said: "There is no room for such behaviour in our society, let alone in Didcot.

"It cannot be tolerated, it is totally unacceptable.

"There is no real deterrent at the moment for attacking an officer. The officers are there to protect and if they go to split up an argument and then get set upon, there needs to be in black and white the promise that if you attack our officers you will get locked up for a long time."

Superintendent Rory Freeman, local policing area commander for South and Vale, praised the officers' actions for their "bravery and professionalism".

He said: "This incident highlights the inherent dangers and risks attached to policing. I would like to commend both officers who were injured in the line of duty for their bravery and professionalism.

"I would like to praise all staff and officers who were called to and continue to investigate this incident."

Sniffer dogs and officers from both Thames Valley Police and British Transport Police scoured the scene for clues as a 400 metre cordon was set up along Station Road.

Just eight hours before the assault in Didcot, the National Police Air Service in Benson tweeted that a police officer had been assaulted during an arrest in Bicester.

Oxford Mail:

Steve Trinder, a retired Thames Valley police officer and current Mayor of Wantage, said the attack was a reminder of how dangerous an officer's job could be.

He said: "From my 30 years in the service and having worked with all sorts of criminals from burglars to murderers you never know what you are going to come across.

"Quite often officers are there on their own dealing with very serious incidents and you just have to think on your feet.

"I remember when I was up in Yorkshire during the miner strikes and they had put a breeze block on a car and let it go into us.

"Even now with all the equipment officers are given it is still so dangerous.

"All we wanted to do was just catch the baddies and keep the community safe." 

Earlier this month, Graham Smith – chairman of the Thames Valley Police Federation – called for a "grown-up conversation" with the public and government to look at arming police officers.

He said: "The fact is that we’ll never be able to protect the public with this unarmed police service, we just won’t be able to do it.

"And whether they’re going to introduce 1,500 (armed) officers, that’s not going to provide that instantaneous cover that you could do if everybody carries firearms. So what we need to do is have a grown up conversation with the public."

He also called for tougher punishments for people who assaulted officers, saying: "We’ve had promises all the time about sentencing. 
"If a police officer is murdered by a member of the public, life should mean life, full stop.

"In fact I would go further, if anyone murders any public servant in the course of their duty, it’s life. I find it abhorrent that society seems to think they can sentence someone to life for killing another sentinel being and let them off after five, six years."

Oxford Mail:

Senior investigating officer detective inspector Michael Roddy said residents could expect a heightened police presence in the area while the investigations continued.

He urged any witnesses of the fight and assault to come forward and contact the police on 101.

Two men from Didcot, both 20, have been bailed until June 28 and both female officers have been discharged from hospital.