OFFICERS are all too often treated with contempt, a Swindon police chief said.

Supt Adrian Burt’s comments came as Swindon magistrates heard the case of a Cirencester drunk who stole £750 of items from M&S and knocked into a bicycle-riding PCSO as he fled from police.

Van driver Jack Hope was chased down Thamesdown Drive by police.

As officers tried to cuff him, the 32-year-old lashed out and kicked North Swindon beat officer PC Sean Williams in the leg.

This week, magistrates sentenced Hope to 12 weeks imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, and fined him £120.

He was banned from driving for 20 months and ordered to pay £220 in costs and victim surcharge.

Reacting to the case, Supt Burt said: “Fortunately my officers were not seriously injured in this incident but it could have been very different.

"Every shift they go out and serve the public and do their best to keep the community safe but all too often they are treated with contempt, abused and assaulted.

“If a member of the public is assaulted we do our absolute best to make sure they get justice and we will do the same for our staff.”

Hope, of Chesterton Park, Cirencester, pleaded guilty to theft of £747 of items from the Orbital branch of Marks & Spencer, driving without due care and attention, drink driving, assaulting an emergency worker and, separately, stealing £18 of alcohol from Asda Walmart.

Prosecuting, Marco Brooke said police had been called on May 26 by a member of the public reporting a man drinking from a wine bottle in his van.

PCSO Kate Jackson, a familiar face in North Swindon from regular bike patrols around the area, was first on the scene.

She recognised Hope as the driver and, seeing he appeared to be drunk, asked him to turn off his engine.

He refused and drove off at speed. Mr Brooke said: “As the vehicle pulled away PCSO Jackson was knocked by the side of the van, but was not injured.”

Police chased his Ford van down Thamesdown Drive, with Hope dumping his vehicle and fleeing from officers.

PC Williams, who was kicked by Hope, found M&S goods in the back of the man’s vehicle.

CCTV from the store clearly showed him taking the items.

A breath test revealed Hope had 79 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35mg.

Defending, Jonathan Lee said his client had experienced problems with class A drugs in the past but was now receiving a prescription to cut his reliance on drugs.