Spitting assaults on police rise

THE Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for West Mercia, John Campion, is highlighting a surge in Covid-19 and spitting assaults on officers.

During the period between March and July 2020, West Mercia Police recorded 23 'Covid-19' related assaults, where perpetrators claimed to have the virus and coughed at officers.

There were 29 assaults where officers were spat at in the same period.

Today marks the second anniversary of the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018, which saw maximum sentences for assaults double from six to 12 months in prison.

A consultation to increase sentences further to a maximum of two years is currently underway.

Mr Campion said he wanted to get tough on assaults on officers.

"My mission has always been to highlight assaults on emergency workers and to campaign for tougher sentencing for the perpetrators of these horrible crimes," the PCC said.

"The lockdown period, despite having an overall positive affect on reported crime, saw an increase in officer assaults, and in particular assaults where people were claiming to have Covid-19.

"It is saddening that, at a time when the country were clapping every Thursday for emergency service workers, that some made the decision to weaponise Covid-19 in order to create stress and anxiety for officers and their families.

"I have made no secret of my support for increased sentencing for those that assault emergency service workers, and I will continue to champion this cause.

"It's only then that we will send a clear message that assaults on those that serve to protect society will be met with the severest of consequences."