The Home Secretary has led condemnation of an attack on a police officer who suffered serious burns while assisting an eviction.
Priti Patel described the attack on the Devon and Cornwall Police officer as a “truly appalling and unacceptable incident”.
The unnamed 51-year-old officer sustained “a number of burns to his arms and legs” during a disturbance in Newquay, Cornwall, on Friday morning.
The officer – who is well known in the town and a former soldier in the Army – was assisting bailiffs during a civil eviction from private land on Trevenson Road when he suffered the burns.
He was taken to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro where his injuries are described as severe but not life-threatening.
The officer’s family is at his bedside and being supported by the force.
A 30-year-old man, from Newquay, has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and remains in custody.
Ms Patel tweeted: “A truly appalling and unacceptable incident. My thoughts are with this brave officer and his loved ones at this time.”
Crime and policing minister Kit Malthouse tweeted: “All thoughts with this brave officer and his family. Swift and certain justice must follow for the perpetrator.”
Retired Newquay police inspector Dave Meredith tweeted: “I have had the privilege of working alongside this officer for over a decade.
“You could find no better police officer and friend. All the best and get well soon mate.”
Chief Superintendent Ian Drummond-Smith, police commander for Cornwall, said officers had been called to assist bailiffs who were carrying out an eviction on private land.
“The injured officer is a Newquay officer. He’s a very well-known and very well-respected officer from the town,” he told reporters.
“He has sustained significant injury but I am pleased to say it’s not life-threatening. He is conscious, he is sat up in his hospital bed and he’s talking to us on the telephone.
“He is in good spirits.”
Mr Drummond-Smith commended police officers who “turned up in great numbers from all around the county, very quickly”, saying that “without a doubt, some of their actions saved the injured officer’s life”.
He said the incident demonstrated “the bravery of police officers up and down the country”.
The burns to the officer were caused by fire and not any chemical or corrosive substance.