West Yorkshire Police recorded 33 incidents in the week of April 24 where a member of the public claiming to be infected with COVID-19 coughed or spat at an officer or agency staff member, police said in a press release.
Ten of the 33 offences are still under investigation and 20 have resulted in charges or summons, police said. Three of the offences were not charged due to “evidential difficulties.”
“Of those that have been finalised at court, five people have been sentenced to 26 weeks imprisonment, two have resulted in custodial times of 12 and 16 weeks respectively and two had suspended sentences. Of the remaining cases one is currently remanded in custody with the others on bail,” police said in the press release.
In the press release, West Yorkshire Police Deputy Chief Constable Russ Foster condemned the assaults and urged courts to “acknowledge the severity” of these offences in light of the lockdown situation when issuing sentences.
“Policing is a difficult enough job at the moment and officers and staff worry whether they might pick up the virus and may be taking it home to their loved ones. While we are taking whatever precautions we can, these attacks clearly heighten the risk and cause increased distress," Foster said. Credit: West Yorkshire Police via Storyful