ONE North Yorkshire Police officer is injured almost every two days as they battle to keep the streets of our county safe.

Disturbing new figures obtained by the Evening Press under the Freedom of Information Act reveal the true dangers of life on the frontline.

They show that the number of officers attacked in the line of duty has more than doubled over the past three years.

The news came as Chief Constable Della Cannings ordered all officers to patrol in pairs after 10pm because of fears over their personal safety.

The force lost the equivalent of 201 working days last year, at an estimated cost of £48,329, because of injuries officers received in attacks or as they tried to restrain violent suspects.

Mark Botham, chairman of the Police Federation, the police "union", said the shocking figures revealed the rising tide of violence that officers face.

He said: "It just goes to show what we have always said: York and North Yorkshire is no sleepy hollow. Officers face the risk of violence every day of their working lives.

"Violent crime concerns all those working in the public sector and it should be remembered that front line workers are exposed to it on a daily basis."

During the last policing year, 81 officers reported being attacked, compared with just 36 three years before, when the force lost 104 working days, at a cost of £13,000.

Meanwhile the number of officers injured while restraining suspects has steadily declined, although the total of 85 last year remains higher than the number of assaults.

Senior police officers said the change was due to better training for officers in how they dealt with violent and disorderly situations.

A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said the rise in assaults and injuries may be due to the increased number of officers on patrol making more arrests than ever.

He said: "But there are still people, a very small number of people, who feel they can attack police officers and that's something that society needs to look at.

"Happily, when you consider the tens of thousands of arrests that take place in North Yorkshire these numbers remain very small indeed."

The decision to order officers to travel in pairs after 10pm came after a review of 480 incidents.

Last month the Evening Press revealed the horrific level of violence and intimidation endured by lifesaving paramedics in the field.

Staff members at York Hospital were found to have been knocked unconscious, throttled with power cords, stuck with drawing pins and even beaten with walking sticks as they tended the sick and injured.

Updated: 09:48 Tuesday, June 21, 2005