Hampshire police have confirmed that a police officer was stabbed in the back in Stamshaw Park at around 12.20pm today while on patrol in Newcomen Road in Stamshaw, Portsmouth.
He was taken to hospital in the air ambulance. His injuries have been described as ‘non-life-threatening’.
It happened near Stamshaw Adventure Playground where children were taking part in half-term activities.
Gemma Connor was visiting the play park when she witnessed the aftermath.
‘I was at the playground to collect my two children,’ she said. ‘I saw the police officer on the floor with another person beside him putting his hand on his back and applying pressure.
‘At the same time there was a man running away from the scene. It was surreal - I was thinking “is this really happening?”. I was shaking as I was so scared. Some of the children saw him on the floor and were really upset. I walked some of them home and they were in tears.’
Hayley Shannon was also at the playground with her two children when they got news of the incident.
‘The staff came out and told us what had happened,’ she said. ‘We were taken out of the back exit where we could hear the noise of the helicopter overhead. Later I saw a man with the police being escorted away. I think it’s disgusting that this sort of thing should happen near a children’s play park.’
A local resident named John, who declined to give his surname, was alerted by a commotion outside his back garden.
‘I was in the house when I heard sirens and could see flashing blue lights outside,’ he said. ‘I came into the garden to see at least six police cars and officers scattered all over the area.
‘Everything was so hectic you knew it was something serious. I have been here 12 years and it is a shock to find out that a police officer has been stabbed.’
The playground is overlooked by Hastings House flats. Residents have been left traumatised after watching the event unfold around them.
Flat resident Megan, who asked for her surname to be withheld, said: ‘After hearing sirens I came out onto the balcony. I saw a man being chased down the street by police officers. He jumped into a garden and appeared to be laughing at the police. I’ve been living here for 24 years and you just don’t expect this on your doorstep.’
Neighbour, Jay Hicks, 12, had been in the park when the chase unfolded.
‘I was in the park when I saw a man jump the fence and start running away,’ said Jay. ‘There were two men following right behind him with a further two chasing from further behind. I can’t believe what has happened. It is just so stupid.’
Jay’s father, Dean Hicks, was alerted to the situation by his father-in-law who also lives in the flats.
Dean said: ‘I got a call from my father-in-law asking where the children were. After he told me what had happened I went down to the park to collect Jay. When I got there I saw a man being put into the back of the ambulance. After collecting Jay the police told us to leave the area. I am so shocked by what has happened. Parents are now frightened to let their children out of the house.’
Anyone with information should call police on 101 quoting 44190063033.