A man has been arrested after the attempted murder of two police officers in Belfast.
Police accused the 22-year-old of attacking the officers with a knife at an address in the south of the city in the early hours of Wednesday.
Assistant Chief Constable Bobby Singleton described an “unprovoked knife attack on both officers”.
“Two of our officers attended an address in the Ormeau Road area, providing assistance to a vulnerable member of the public,” he said.
One had his face slashed while the other was stabbed in the neck before being taken to hospital for treatment, Mr Singleton said.
He added: “It’s sobering to think just how lucky we are not to have lost these officers.
“We’re supporting them, their families and colleagues, ensuring they receive the appropriate care and welfare support.
“This incident serves as a timely reminder of the very real threat of serious violence our police officers face each and every day.
“All this is happening while they are seeking to protect the public and working incredibly hard to keep our communities safe.
“Officers regularly step forward into the unknown, placing the public’s safety ahead of their own. That’s not something that any of us should take for granted.
“Assaults on our officers are never acceptable and should be condemned.”
The suspected attacker was still in custody at lunchtime on Wednesday.
Policing Board Chair Deirdre Toner condemned what she termed as a “shocking incident which shows the risk and danger that officers can face in their service to the community”.
“These officers were providing help and assistance and ended up being viciously attacked. We wish them both a full and speedy recovery,” she said.
“These attacks are completely unacceptable, are condemned by the board and must be condemned right across the community.”
Liam Kelly, chair of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland, said this was a “terrible incident that could have had a very different outcome”.
He paid tribute to both the officers for displaying “remarkable professionalism when confronted by this knife-wielding individual who was clearly intent on causing great harm”.
“In this case, the officers could have used their firearms to protect themselves, but they didn’t,” he said.
“They sustained injuries, with one colleague requiring urgent hospital treatment for his neck wound. A millimetre either side of the wound could have had a very different outcome.”
Mr Kelly said the availability of a Taser would have given the officers an “effective tactical option against their attacker and potentially avoided the inflicting of the injuries on them”.
“We say again that Tasers are effective, protective devices and should be issued as standard to our officers,” he said.
“They are infinitely preferable to a firearm and anyone who thinks otherwise should look at this incident and ask the obvious question.
“My thoughts are with my two colleagues, and I hope both are able to return to duty as quickly as possible.
“They are to be commended for the care they showed this violent attacker in the first instance and their subsequent handling of a very dangerous situation.
“All assaults and attacks on our officers are never acceptable and must be condemned.”
Earlier this week, Chief Constable Simon Byrne spoke out against attacks on officers.
On Monday, he said 43 had been attacked in 30 separate incidents in the past seven days.
He said injuries included broken fingers and a dislocated knee, and said several officers had also been spat on.
At the weekend, two officers were hurt when a car rammed into their police vehicle in Strabane, Co Tyrone.
Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris described the attack figures as “alarming and disappointing”.