Case study: Sussex - punched in the face
PC Ian Codling from Sussex Police
PC Ian Codling saw first-hand how a violent attack can come out of the blue and have long lasting effects.
The officer and a colleague were called to a Wetherspoons pub where a man had been refusing to leave. As they stepped outside to speak to the offender, he unleashed a vicious, unprovoked attack on the officers. Both were punched in the face and PC Codling fell to the ground, hitting his head. As he drifted in and out of consciousness, the offender continued to punch him in the face.
The nearest back-up was 20 minutes away but thankfully a police CCTV control room operator summoned back-up, and staff from the pub also went to the officers’ aid.
PC Codling said: "What happened next was a blur. I had one or two hours of memory loss and was taken to hospital for a scan. There had been a large impact on the back of my head – either from the ground or a parked car, I couldn’t be sure – and my left eye was like a balloon."
The offender was charged with ABH and police assault and jailed for 14 months, but that was not the end of the story for PC Codling. He was off work for three months and developed anxiety and depression. He said: "In my nine years as a PC and over 17 as a Special, I had never experienced anything like this."
He was referred to a clinical psychologist but afterwards he began to recover. He has received good support from his force and colleagues.