The parents of a trainee policeman battered in a homophobic attack have said they could not believe the thugs' ignorance.
Pc James Parkes, 22, was off-duty and enjoying a night out on Sunday with friends in Liverpool city centre when he was assaulted by up to 20 teenagers.
He was outside Superstar Boudoir, a gay nightspot in Stanley Street, when the yobs shouted abuse before laying into the probationary officer.
Pc Parkes, who was a police community support officer for two years before joining the force in May as an officer, is in hospital with multiple skull fractures.
Six teenagers from the Kirkdale suburb of the city were arrested on suspicion of assault and bailed while detectives continue their investigation.
Pc Parkes's parents, Ann and Ron Parkes, praised Liverpool's gay community for supporting their son and urged anyone with information to come forward. In a statement, they said: "We want to thank the investigation team for all the work they are doing to catch the people involved in this vicious attack. We are really grateful for all the support that James has received since the attack, particularly from the gay community and the police.
"James has worked hard to serve the Merseyside community over the last two years as a Police Community Support Officer and is very excited to be at the start of his career as a police officer.
"We can't believe the ignorance of the young people who carried out the attack on someone who was just out on a night out with friends and had done nothing wrong. We are really keen that the young people involved in the attack are caught and bought to justice and would ask anyone who knows anything about the attack to contact the police."
Officers are sifting through CCTV taken from around Stanley Street and bars nearby.
The rookie officer is in a serious but stable condition and is believed to be sitting up talking.