A police officer was left unconscious after being strangled in a late-night attack on a high street in Essex, with his colleague also assaulted.

Essex Police were called to reports that two men were assaulting another man in North Station Road, in Colchester, at around 10.30 pm on Saturday.

One officer arrived to find two people running from the area, but when he caught up with the suspects, he was assaulted and strangled, the force said.

The suspects again tried to flee, and when a second officer caught up with them, he was too attacked and strangled from behind.

Both police officers were taken to hospital for treatment but have since been discharged.

A 37-year-old man and a teenager, aged 17, have now been arrested on suspicion of assaulting an emergency worker and intentional strangulation.

Detective Chief Inspector Rob Huddleston said: “Policing is rightly scrutinised by the public, given the responsibility the role requires, but very often what the public does not see is selfless, brave officers running towards danger to do their job.

“They do that all through the day, late at night and in the early morning hours so the rest of us don’t have to. Their families expect them to come home safely from their shift, and last night, there were two troubled families.

“Thankfully, ours is a family force. We look after each other, and we support each other. One of the officers involved in this incident is an Essex Police Special.

“Whilst he is trained to the same level as a regular officer, he is not paid for his work; he volunteers his time, and we are lucky to have him and his many Special colleagues across the force.”

Police believe the tight between the three men and the assault on officers were witnessed by people passing by and have appealed for anyone with information to come forward.