HAMPSHIRE Police Federation has hit out at “inconsistent” sentencing for those who attack police officers during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Officers from around the country have been spat at by offenders claiming to have Covid and have seen the weaponisation of the “Coronavirus Cough”, leaving officers exposed to the potentially deadly disease.
Assaults on emergency workers was the most common corovirus-related crime last year, the Crown Prosecution Service revealed this month.
Zoe Wakefield, Federation Chair, said: “I don’t think any of the sentences are strong enough. If you know that you’re infected with Covid, that it is potentially lethal, if you’re then going to go and bite somebody or spit on them or cough on them, that’s really serious because they don’t know that the person they’re coughing, biting or spitting on, that police officer, is asthmatic for example. Or whether that officer has family members who are vulnerable.
“The potential risks are huge and it’s such dangerous behaviour that it should be sentenced accordingly, and it isn’t. I think sentences for assaults on officers and emergency workers have been really inconsistent.”
Hampshire Police Federation has been working with the local CPS to bring about more consistent sentences.
Zoe added: “There have been some good examples where some custodial sentences have been imposed. I think it should be that automatic custodial sentence for everybody who’s using Covid as a weapon.
“Otherwise officers just don’t feel like the courts value the role of the police officer. They don’t appreciate that these officers are doing their best to protect the public, that they’re putting their lives on the line. They just don’t feel appreciated or valued by the criminal justice system.”