POLICE officers are being hit by cars, bitten, kicked and punched while fighting crime in Swindon and Wiltshire.

They also suffered falls from heights, were exposed to dangerous body fluids and hurt by animals.

But the number of physical assaults has fallen, with 39 up to September 2011 compared with 48 in the same period a year earlier.

A large number of injuries not classified as violent attacks were also suffered while prisoners were being restrained, according to a list of injuries released by Wiltshire Police.

In September, a female PC suffered bruising after being struck to the head, while a male colleague received cuts and abrasions to his leg after another assault.

A male officer suffered a sprained leg while chasing a suspect in July, while the month before a male colleague received an animal bite to his arm.

In May, a PC came into contact with a harmful substance described as “body fluids” while a suspect was resisting arrest, leading to a finger injury.

A male constable was added to the list in March with a leg injury after being hit by a car. Another bite from an unidentified person in January led to a male PC receiving a fractured hand.

In total there were 118 injuries caused by assaults and other factors up to September last year, compared with 99 the year before.

Other injuries over the past two years included officers suffering trips, slips and falls.

Temporary Chief Sup Paul Mills, the force’s local policing commander, said: “We take any report of injury to any of our police officers very seriously.

“Unfortunately, due to the nature of their job, police officers and police staff sometimes risk their own personal safety in order to protect the wider public.

“Thankfully the incidence of serious injury is, however, rare.

“All officers and police staff who perform front line policing roles are provided with ongoing Officer Safety Training, to assist them in attempting to reasonably resolve conflict situations safely.

“They are provided with personal protective equipment to help to minimise the risk of both injury to themselves and the public.

“We formally monitor the number of such incidents and, where opportunities exist to adapt our policy, practice and training we put measures in place to mitigate potential future risks.”