A MAN in his 20s has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after two police officers were attacked in Belfast today.
The incident took place in the Ormeau Road area of South Belfast in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
One of the officers sustained a serious injury after being stabbed in the neck, while the second was cut on the nose.
"This was a terrible incident that could have had a very different outcome," said Liam Kelly, Chair of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland (PFNI).
Bobby Singleton, Assistant Chief Constable for Local Policing, said the incident occurred after officers attended an address in the Ormeau Road area to assist a vulnerable member of the public.
"This man then launched an unprovoked knife attack on both officers," said ACC Singleton.
"One officer sustained a cut to his face from a blade, while a second officer sustained a serious stab wound to his neck.
"He has been taken to hospital for treatment for his injuries.
"The man, aged 22, was arrested for attempted murder and remains in police custody at this time.
"It's sobering to think just how lucky we are not to have lost these officers.
"We're supporting them, their families and colleagues ensuring they receive the appropriate care and welfare support."
Mr Kelly praised the officers for not using their firearms but called for the introduction of tasers, describing them as 'effective, protective devices… infinitely preferable to a firearm'.
"In this case, the officers could have used their firearms to protect themselves, but they didn't," said the PFNI Chair.
"They sustained injuries with one colleague requiring urgent hospital treatment for his neck wound.
"A millimetre either side of the wound could have had a very different outcome.
"The availability of Taser would have provided these frontline officers with an effective tactical option against their attacker and potentially avoided the inflicting of the injuries on them."
The incident occurred just three days after two officers were injured in Co. Tyrone when their patrol vehicle was rammed.
On Monday, Chief Constable Simon Byrne revealed 43 PSNI officers had been assaulted in 30 separate incidents during the previous seven days.
Meanwhile, Superintendent Norman Haslett, District Commander for Newry, Mourne and Down, revealed recently that 17 officers were injured in attacks in the area in December.
Following today's incident, ACC Singleton added: "Assaults on our officers are never acceptable, and should be condemned."