Police officer allegedly stabbed in the head in Sydney’s CBD

<span>A police operation was underway on Elizabeth Street in Sydney after an officer was allegedly stabbed.</span><span>Photograph: Steven Saphore/AAP</span>
A police operation was underway on Elizabeth Street in Sydney after an officer was allegedly stabbed.Photograph: Steven Saphore/AAP

A police officer is said to be “doing fine” in hospital on Sunday after allegedly being repeatedly stabbed in the head with a 30cm kitchen knife in Sydney’s central business district.

Detective superintendent of the Sydney City Police Area Command, Martin Fileman, told reporters on Sunday afternoon that the male constable was stabbed in the back of the head a “number of times” before he and a female constable gave chase to the alleged attacker.

The pair pursued a 33-year-old man to Hyde Park where he was arrested and taken to Royal Prince Alfred hospital for assessment. On Sunday afternoon, he remained in hospital under assessment and police guard.

Related: Two more charged with rioting outside Sydney church after bishop stabbing

Prior to being tasered, the man allegedly demanded police shoot him while brandishing his knife.

“He demanded he be shot by police … it’s a built up area that time of the day. Police had firearms and tasers out – we had a number of options and taser was one of them.”

“He will be released from hospital shortly facing very serious charges.”

The 33-year-old was known to police, Fileman said, but had no history of mental illness on its database and had not been involved in any “serious matters”.

“He has no real serious criminal history, he’s known to police but for nothing substantial,” he said, adding he “said nothing” about his intentions in relation to the attack or why he wanted to be shot.

The injured officer was treated by paramedics for nonlife-threatening head injuries at the scene and was taken to St Vincent’s hospital in the city after the incident on Sunday afternoon.

Fileman said he was in a stable condition at hospital on Sunday afternoon.

“He’s doing fine, he’s got a lot of support around him,” he said.

“I take my hat off to the injured officer who chased the offender.”

A police operation was under way on Elizabeth Street, but New South Wales police said there was no ongoing threat to the public and it was an isolated incident.

A second crime scene had been established in relation to the incident at the intersection of Castlereagh and Park streets.

Fileman said the incident showed the “risk knives pose in the community”. It followed a string of incidents in recent months including a fatal stabbing at Bondi Junction and the stabbing of a bishop and several churchgoers in Western Sydney.

He pointed to recent legislation passed in NSW that would give police more powers to search for concealed weapons.

“Any further powers that give us the ability to search for knives is a bonus,” he said.

“It was an occasion where we had a number of police close by … we were just lucky in that instance but it’s very concerning.

“The first time police saw [the knife] it was in his hand and it remained in his hand until he was arrested.

“We do train for these instances and we train very hard for these instances. These are the type of instances we talk to our young officers about.”

A police investigation into the incident was under way.