Albury police given name of cop basher

POLICE say they know the four people involved in a fight in central Albury that led to an off-duty police officer being punched unconscious near the Olive Street taxi rank early Sunday morning.

Two people had been fighting on Dean Street before moving into Olive Street at about 3.40am.

The officer, 26, who lives at Beveridge on the outskirts of Melbourne, tried to break up the fight and two others joined in, and the man was punched to the head.

He was taken to Albury hospital for treatment before being released later on Sunday.

Police said they had been provided with the names of people involved, which followed an altercation earlier that night.

Inspector David Cottee said the off-duty officer had not done anything wrong.

“He’s gone to the aid of another man,” Inspector Cottee said.

“His injuries were not as severe as first thought, thank goodness.

“But the potential for much more serious injuries existed.

“We’ve been given the names of the people involved and we’ll be following up on that.”

The officer provided a statement after being released from hospital.

Superintendent Beth Stirton said such incidents were rare, with police statistics showing a decline in assaults since a peak in 2007.

Police had made no arr-ests late yesterday.

Albury Liquor Accord chairman and councillor Daryl Betteridge said anti-social behaviour in the central business district had appeared to have declined.

“These isolated incidents are shocking and should not be tolerated in any way,” he said.

“We as an industry have been proactive and continue to be proactive, but there is little we can do to avert isolated incidents.”

Cr Betteridge said rather than make changes to Albury’s liquor accord, people should be respon-sible for their own actions.

“Terrible as it was, I don’t believe there was much that could have been done to avert this incident,” he said.

“We as a society need to stand up and say we don’t believe it’s appropriate.”