A SERIOUSLY-INJURED police officer has been rushed to hospital after being attacked outside a Southampton pub.

Hampshire Police were called to Yates bar in Above Bar Street shortly after midnight this morning to reports of a fight involving several people in the street.

The first officer to arrive at the scene was attacked outside the bar.

The victim, a 54-year-old man, was taken to Southampton General Hospital with a serious facial injury.

His family have been informed and are being supported by specially-trained officers.

Four men aged 22, 26, 27 and 32 have been arrested in connection with the incident. All four remain in custody.

DI Emma Crute said: “Our thoughts are very much with the officer and his family as we continue our investigations into what happened.

“There were a lot of people around at the time of this incident who will have seen what happened.

“If you were in the bar or outside when it happened please contact us because you may have information that could help with our investigation.

“We know a lot of people enjoy taking photos and videos when they are on a night out, so if you are looking at your phone this morning and you think you may have captured something, please let us know.

“You may not think what you have is of any use, but if you were in that area around midnight, it may be really useful to our enquiries.”

Hampshire Police Federation said it is providing support to the officer, as well as his family and colleagues.

Chairman Alex Charge said: "This is an horrendous assault on an officer just doing his job - protecting the public."

Anyone with information on the incident can contact police on 101, quoting 44190215711, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.