OFFICERS are routinely facing disgusting abuse from a growing minority, a senior police officer has said.

It came as Swindon magistrates were told a labourer threatened to shoot and stab the police constable who was trying to march him away from a Wiltshire Wetherspoons pub.

Insp Mark Luffman of Wiltshire North community policing team, said: “This case highlights the disgusting abuse and threats that our police officers and staff routinely face from a growing minority of people when they are out and about policing our communities.

“It is unacceptable that they should have to face these types of comments and threats of violence, when they are simply doing their job and protecting the public.”

Labourer Stuart Miller claimed he was a Hells Angel, before saying he would shoot and stab a police constable.

Swindon magistrates were told Stuart Miller wanted to be sent to jail, with the 28-year-old’s lawyer describing his client as wretched and depressed.

Prosecuting, Keith Ballinger said police had found Miller being thrown out the pub by security staff shortly after midnight on May 25.

As they marched him down the street, he began mouthing off at the constables. One of the officers, PC Elliott Alvis, got the bulk of the abuse. Mr Ballinger said of Miller: “He was saying he would stab [PC Alvis] and shoot him. He’s a Hells Angel and he ‘knows people’.”

Miller, of Unity Street, Chippenham, pleaded guilty to being drunk and disorderly at The Bridge House, a Wetherspoons pub in the town. He also admitted failing to surrender to the court, breaching a conditional discharge and a suspended crown court jail sentence imposed last year for affray.

Richard Williams, defending, admitted he “couldn’t polish” his client’s behaviour in any way. Miller had failed to surrender to the court on June 16 and he had simply lost his paperwork.

The lawyer said Miller had a problem with binge drinking, working a full week as a labourer and using booze as an outlet at the weekend.

Miller was said to suffer from depression, had fallen out with his family and wanted to be sent to prison. “He feels wretched,” said Mr Williams.

When magistrates returned to sentence Miller after a brief adjournment, they were told the defendant did not want to come back up from the cells. Mr Williams said his client had suffered an anxiety attack.

JPs sent the case to Swindon Crown Court for sentencing. Miller was bailed to appear before the crown court on August 9.

Last year, official figures revealed assaults on Wiltshire Police officers had doubled. One officer was assaulted every four days on average.

Chief Constable Kier Pritchard, who joined the Wiltshire force in 1993, said: said: “As a young officer I walked the streets of Swindon with just a helmet, truncheon and handcuffs as protection.

“I can remember being verbally abused, there being a bit of spitting and pushing but I never needed medical treatment. There was not the same level of hostility back then.”