Thames Valley Police officers subjected to ‘horrific’ COVID-19 related assaults since the pandemic began
The Thames Valley Police Federation have spoken out about some of the experiences of officers working during the Coronavirus pandemic.
In one repulsive incident, an officer had his face mask removed by an assailant who then spat directly in his face.
Around 50 officers have been coughed on or spat at since the crisis began.
General assaults are also up, Thames Valley Police Federation confirmed, with 40 more assaults being confirmed over the period compared to the same time last year.
Chairman Craig O’Leary said: “It’s incredibly sad that we’re seeing not only an increase by 40 assaults compared to this time last year, but that we have had 50 incidents where my policing colleagues in the Thames Valley have been spat at, coughed on or even bitten.
“Being assaulted in this way is an absolutely despicable crime at the best of times but it certainly is in the current climate when everyone’s worried sick about COVID-19 and we have people deliberately coughing in peoples’ faces or in one case, where a colleague had his facemask removed and somebody spat in his face.”
One silver lining has been the judiciary’s desire to hand down robust sentences to those who assault officers in this way, Craig added.
He said: “We’ve been fairly lucky in the Thames Valley that the judiciary have been handing out custodial sentences to individuals that have been arrested and put before the courts for these COVID-19-related assaults.
“While the sentences may never be enough for some, the fact that they are being issued custodial sentences should be applauded.
“Hopefully, as we come out of the crisis, we’ll look at taking a lot harsher line on sentencing when it comes to police officer assaults, and emergency service worker assaults.”