By Rebecca Black, PA
A man has been arrested after the attempted murder of two police officers in Belfast.
Police accused the 22-year-old of attacking the officers with a knife at an address in the south of the city in the early hours of Wednesday.
Assistant Chief Constable Bobby Singleton described an “unprovoked knife attack on both officers”.
“Two of our officers attended an address in the Ormeau Road area, providing assistance to a vulnerable member of the public,” he said.
One had his face slashed while the other was stabbed in the neck before being taken to hospital for treatment, Mr Singleton said.
He added: “It’s sobering to think just how lucky we are not to have lost these officers.
“We’re supporting them, their families and colleagues, ensuring they receive the appropriate care and welfare support.
“This incident serves as a timely reminder of the very real threat of serious violence our police officers face each and every day.
“All this is happening while they are seeking to protect the public and working incredibly hard to keep our communities safe.
“Officers regularly step forward into the unknown, placing the public’s safety ahead of their own. That’s not something that any of us should take for granted.
“Assaults on our officers are never acceptable and should be condemned.”
The suspected attacker was still in custody at lunchtime on Wednesday.
Policing Board Chair Deirdre Toner condemned what she termed as a “shocking incident which shows the risk and danger that officers can face in their service to the community”.
“These officers were providing help and assistance and ended up being viciously attacked. We wish them both a full and speedy recovery,” she said.
“These attacks are completely unacceptable, are condemned by the board and must be condemned right across the community.”
Earlier this week, Chief Constable Simon Byrne spoke out against attacks on officers.
On Monday, he said 43 had been attacked in 30 separate incidents in the past seven days.
He said injuries included broken fingers and a dislocated knee, and said several officers had also been spat on.
At the weekend, two officers were hurt when a car rammed into their police vehicle in Strabane, Co Tyrone.
Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris described the attack figures as “alarming and disappointing”.