A Greater Manchester Police officer injured during protests at Old Trafford yesterday nearly lost his eyesight, the Federation has said.
The officer, who has not been named, suffered a serious facial wound after being attacked with a bottle.
The Pc required emergency hospital treatment.
Footage from Sky Sports showed the officer, who the Federation says has around 20 years’ service, with a large gash under his eye.
In an updated statement issued by the Greater Manchester Police Federation this afternoon, Chairman Stu Berry described the injuries as ‘life-changing’.
Mr Berry said he had spoken to the officer and that he remains ‘angry’ and in a lot of pain.
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The officer was lucky not to have lost his eyesight and will require an ‘extended spell off work’, the Federation added.
Mr Berry condemned the violence towards police yesterday which also saw another officer injured.
And he called for better protection for frontline officers while policing protests.
Many were faced with a hostile crowd of thousands at Old Trafford and the Lowry yesterday wearing nothing more than their standard uniform.
The M.E.N witnessed officers having to shield themselves from glass bottles being thrown at officers on several occasions without protective equipment.
Mr Berry said: “Our brave colleague went to work yesterday to keep the people of Greater Manchester safe – and he ended up coming under attack.
“He is incredibly lucky not to have lost the sight in an eye.
“This is not right. Police officers are mothers, fathers, husbands, wives and partners. They are sons and daughters. They are human beings who should be able to go home to their families in one piece at the end of their shifts. Not be rushed to hospital.
“We are offering support to our injured colleague and will continue to do so as he recovers from his injuries.”
Mr Berry said today (Monday) he had also spoken to Acting Chief Constable Ian Pilling expressing the Federation’s concerns about the injuries officers sustained and to seek ‘reassurance that colleagues in future will be adequately protected’.
“Nothing is more important that the safety of our police officers,” Mr Berry added.
“We are incredibly experienced in Greater Manchester Police at facilitating peaceful protest but lessons from Old Trafford must be learned.
“I am pleased to say I have a commitment from Acting Chief Constable Ian Pilling to fully review intelligence received and resources allocated around yesterday’s incident – and we wait for the outcome of that review.”
Mr Berry said the Federation – which represents more than 7,000 officers in Greater Manchester – believes a wider public debate is now needed around the kit operational police officers wear at such protests.
The Federation believs any ‘perceived fears over poor public perception of how police officers may look must come secondary to police officer safety’.
Mr Berry added: “We are witnessing colleagues come under relentless attack wearing not much more than a flat cap and a high-vis jacket and with a baton to keep themselves safe.
“Our officers must be properly protected and appropriately equipped with public order gear – including helmets and shields – when policing these protestors.”
“This will in no way be the last demonstration UK police officers have to encounter as the nation unlocks and our courageous colleagues are bearing the brunt of public frustration. They must have the appropriate kit available to protect themselves.
“Officers are not – and never will be – punchbags for people protesting for their cause. We have seen too many images of police officers at protests over recent weeks with blood gushing from their faces. How many more do we have to see? How badly does a police officer have to be injured before we do something?
“Our approach has to change. And it has to change now.”
Senior officers at GMP and the Mayor Andy Burnham condemned the violence directed towards police.
Mr Burnham said while he understood fans’ concerns there was ‘no excuse’ for the ‘minority’ who attacked officers.
In a statement last night, he said: “I fully understand the long-standing concerns of Manchester United supporters about both the ownership and financing of their club and the wider running of football.
These concerns have been building for a long time and it is essential that those running the club and the game listen to them.
“It is important to make clear that the majority of supporters made their protest peacefully today.
“However, there is no excuse for the actions of a minority who injured police officers and endangered the safety of others.
“I send my best wishes to the police officers who have been hurt in the course of their duties this afternoon.
“This could be an important moment to change football for the better.
“We should all condemn violence of any kind and keep the focus on the behaviour of those at the top of the game.”
GMP Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson said: “The behaviour displayed today by those at both Old Trafford and The Lowry Hotel was reckless and dangerous.
“We understand the passion many supporters have for their team and we fully respect the right for peaceful protest. Plans were in place to ensure this could happen safely, but it soon became clear that many present had no intention of doing so peacefully.
“The actions of those today required us to take officers from front line policing and call in support from neighbouring forces to prevent the disorder getting worse. At different points, bottles and barriers were thrown, officers assaulted and people scaled the stadium structure creating risk for themselves and officers
“We have launched an investigation and we will be working closely alongside partners to ensure we establish the full circumstances surrounding today’s events and prosecute those responsible.”