TWO police officers were attacked by thugs – one of whom subjected an Asian officer to a tirade of racist abuse.

Now one man has been jailed and another has been handed a suspended sentence following the “terrifying” incident in Southampton.

The two officers were kicked at, sworn at, and one of them was even bitten in the attack which has left one “considering” his future in the police force.

Steven Benham, 46, of Shirley Towers has been jailed for 10 months for his part in the attack and using racist language.

Austin Paddock, 18, of Riverside House was spared a jail term but given a nine month suspended sentence for assaulting two police officers.

Both men pleaded guilty. A third male, aged 17, who cannot be named, was also charged following the incident, and is being dealt with by the youth court.

Outlining the case, prosecutor Daniel Sawyer told the court how the incident happened in Golden Grove in St Mary’s on April 9, police were initially called by a man who said he was getting abuse from three men.

When police arrived they spoke to the daughter of Benham who tried to calm the situation down. But Benham took offence that he wasn’t involved in the conversations and began directing racist abuse at PC Sukh Nagra.

As police tried to leave, both men acted aggressively towards PC Nagra before Paddock obscenely gestured at Benham and said “Let’s have it then, street fight rules.”

PC Nagra tried to arrest Paddock but he resisted arrest and kneed the officer in the leg.

The teenager then rugby tackled PC Nagra into a parked car and a scuffle ensued between the pair on the ground. Paddock bit Nagra and also stole his baton, inadvertently striking PCSO Levi White with it.

As the melee continued PC Nagra used CS spray to help contain Paddock and stop Benham in his tracks as he “charged” towards him.

More officers arrived and both men and the teenager were arrested.

Reading out a victim statement on behalf of PC Nagra, Mr Sawyer said the officer was considering his future in the police force.

“I have been on the front lines of policing for 11 years and I have never been attacked by three drunken people hell bent on causing me harm.

“Not only was my uniform an issue but so was my skin colour, and I had hurtful, racist comments directed at me.”

PCSO White, who suffered a leg injury said: “The language and the racism towards my colleague was completely unreasonable.”

In the incident both officers lost their handcuffs, radios and batons and describing it, PC Nagra said: “I do not think anyone can fully understand that sense of helplessness when your back-up and protection has gone.”

Defending Paddock, Imogen Nelson, said he was of previous good character with no previous convictions, and that he has ADHD, Asperger’s syndrome and Tourette’s and was not taking his medication when the attack happened.

Defending Benham, who has more than 30 previous convictions, Joanne Chester described his views as “entrenched” and not popular with modern society.

However, she said Benham had stopped drinking and asked for him to receive a suspended

sentence because he is terminally ill.

Judge, Miss Recorder Joanna Martin said: “On this particular occasion the otherwise often rewarding job turned into what must have been a terrifying incident for both of them.

Addressing Benham, she said: “It is a difficult enough job and it is doubly difficult for an Asian officer dealing with idiots like you that have racist and entrenched views.”