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An Oamaru police officer was hospitalised last night after being kicked on the ground by a group of men in what police called "an appalling and unprovoked gang-like attack."
Six men have been arrested in relation to the incident, which happened on Thames Highway, just north of Stirling St, about 8.30pm.
Detective Sergeant Mike Ryder said the officer stopped a car, believed to have had six occupants, and started to process the driver for drink-driving.
The driver of the vehicle failed the breath screening test and was required to accompany the constable for more testing.
The driver refused to go with the constable and charged at him with raised fists. The officer used pepper spray to stop this attack but the driver then charged at him again.
"At this stage the driver's five passengers approached the constable, assaulting him causing him to fall to the ground where he was kicked by the group on a number of occasions," Senior Sergeant Jason McCoy said.
The constable received injuries to his face, elbow and knee. He was hospitalised overnight for observations.
"This unprovoked and gang-like attack upon the constable is both disgusting and appalling," Snr Sgt McCoy said.
The men were from Oamaru and the charges they face were not yet known.
Police were appealing for witnesses.