Family of police officer stabbed in the head praise his bravery

The family of the police officer who was stabbed in the head with a machete after challenging a motoring offences suspect have paid tribute to the bravery of a man who “loves protecting the public”.

PC Stuart Outten was on patrol in a marked police car just after midnight on Thursday when he attempted to stop a van suspected of having no insurance in Leyton, east London. After the van stopped Outten was attacked.

Despite his injuries the officer – who has around a decade of experience – managed to subdue his attacker using a stun gun before another officer came to his aid and arrested the suspect.

The man apprehended, Muhammad Rodwan, 56, has been charged with the attempted murder of Outten, 28, along with possession of an offensive weapon, and has been remanded in custody while the patrol officer is in hospital recovering from head and hand injuries.

Outten’s family released a statement through the Metropolitan police describing their pride at his bravery.

“We have been overwhelmed by the amount of support we have received from the public, Stuart’s colleagues and the wider policing family,” it said. “We are incredibly proud of the bravery Stuart showed during the incident. His injuries could have been fatal and we are thankful that he is stable and recovering in hospital with his loved ones around him.”

They said Outten – who is expected to recover after hospital treatment – had joined the Met immediately after leaving school and that he “loves being a police officer and protecting the public”.

“Although there are risks associated with his job, we would never have expected something like this to happen,” the statement continued. “We are so grateful to the London ambulance service paramedics and hospital staff for their care and compassion.”

The family added that it was an extremely distressing period and asked the media to both respect their privacy and refrain from publishing images showing Outten’s injuries and him recovering in hospital.

Rodwan, from Luton, appeared briefly at Thames magistrates court in east London on Friday morning, wearing a prison-issue grey tracksuit. He was remanded in custody before his next appearance at the Old Bailey on 6 September.

Q&A

How many police officers are there in the UK?

In March 2019 there were 126,000 police officers in England and Wales. This includes 4,000 officers from the British Transport Police. Policing is devolved in Scotland, and the country has had the equivalent of between 16,500 and 17,000 full- time officers for the best part of a decade. Northern Ireland has around 6,500 officers.

Police officer numbers in England and Wales have declined by 20,000 since 2010, when the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition came to power. The number of police officers in England and Wales is at its lowest recorded level since the Margaret Thatcher administration in the early 1980s. Boris Johnson has pledged to recruit 20,000 new police officers.

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Police chiefs have criticised cuts of about 19% which led to the loss of more than 20,000 officers. The West Midlands chief constable, Dave Thompson, recently warned that “policing is at the tipping point”.

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