The Metropolitan Police have said its officers “should not be used as society’s punchbags” after shocking footage showing two police constables being set upon in broad daylight.
A member of the public, who had claimed to have been assaulted, flagged down the officers on Wednesday afternoon and directed them to their alleged attacker.
Footage shows a male officer pinned to the ground and being kicked, while his female colleague is pushed as she tries to intervene.
Several men, including one with a baseball bat, surround them while filming on their phones, with one taking a selfie during the assault on Frampton Park Road in Hackney, north-east London.
On Thursday, Metropolitan Police Federation chairman Ken Marsh condemned the attack, saying: "Yet again this starkly shows the dangers [officers] face and the bravery they show each and every day keeping Londoners safe.
"On this occasion our colleagues are thankfully only reporting minor injuries – but the reality is it could have been much worse.
“We are not society's punchbags. We have families we want to go home to at the end of every shift, but the dangers are stark and seemingly escalating."
The officers involved suffered minor injuries, but did not require hospital treatment, Scotland Yard said.
Two men, aged 20 and 38, were arrested on suspicion of assaulting police and remain in custody.
Home secretary Priti Patel has since condemned the incident in Hackney, tweeting: “Sickening, shocking & disgraceful. My thoughts are with the outstanding @metpoliceuk officers who were subject to this disgusting violent attack.”
In a statement, the Met said: "As an officer attempted to speak with those involved, one of the men resisted and a struggle ensued. A number of other people became involved whilst the officer was on the ground."
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, also said of the incident: "I utterly condemn the disgraceful attack on two Metropolitan Police officers this afternoon.
"These brave officers were doing their duty and assisting the public. We owe them a debt of gratitude."