A man who violently bit a police officer leaving him with a scar on his arm has been spared jail.

The officer was assaulted after he responded to an incident in Murchison Road, Leytonstone,

The man, who pleaded guilty to the assault, was handed a community order and ordered to pay the victim £200 in compensation as well as £85 in court costs.

Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, criticised the court for handing down a lenient sentence for such an attack.

Mr Marsh said: “This is another despicable assault on one of our hard-working colleagues.

“We need the courts to send a strong message to those who might do this that their actions will not be tolerated. This does not do that.

"It is also important that our colleagues have the right protective equipment to keep them safe on the beat. We must protect the protectors.”

It comes amid continued calls from the Metropolitan Police Federation for spit guards to be made available to all frontline officers, not just custody teams.

A survey by the federation on spitting and biting assaults, completed by 5,500 officers, revealed that 92 per cent were in favour of having spit guards.

A further 562 officers said they had been bitten on duty in the last two years.