London police officer attacked with machete

A London police officer is in a critical condition after a driver he pulled over attacked him with a machete.

Around midnight Wednesday, police pulled over a van in Leyton, a district in east London. The driver of the vehicle, who was in his 50s, attacked the uniformed police officer with a machete, Metropolitan Police said in a statement Thursday.

The officer was stabbed a number of times but managed to use his Taser to subdue the driver and protect himself.

The injured police officer, who is in his 30s, was taken to hospital and is in a critical but stable condition.

The driver, who has not been named and did not require hospital treatment, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of grievous bodily harm and taken to a police station for questioning.

Police said there was nothing to suggest the incident was terrorist related.

“This was a sudden and brutal attack on a uniformed officer carrying out their duties,” said Inspector Julia James. “What began as a routine vehicle stop has transformed very quickly and unexpectedly into an unprovoked attack with a weapon.”

“Events such as this highlight the courageous work that police do every day, sometimes having to confront violent and dangerous individuals, who are determined to do them harm.”

Britain is currently battling a marked rise in knife crime. Police recorded a total of 40,577 offenses involving a knife or sharp instrument last year — 10,000 more than in 2011 — and knife offenses have risen for five consecutive years.

The problem is especially bad in London, which has become a hot spot for knife crime offenses. The issue has captured the attention of United States President Donald Trump, who has publicly blamed London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan for violence in the city. Khan, meanwhile, points the finger at police cuts mandated by the ruling Conservative government.