A Huddersfield woman has pleaded guilty (27/03) to an assault on a West Yorkshire Police officer, having claimed to have Coronavirus.
The 37-year-old, who has been remanded into custody, is to be sentenced at Crown Court on a date yet to be fixed, following the incident that occurred in the early hours of Thursday 26th March.
Police responded to a disturbance on Whitby Avenue in Fartown and found a woman who became abusive towards the attending officers.
She was subsequently arrested for being drunk and disorderly; however, as she was being detained, she exhaled towards the officer and claimed to have Coronavirus.
It meant she was further arrested for assaulting an emergency worker.
Kirklees Detective Superintendent, Jim Griffiths said:
“Given the particularly challenging circumstances all emergency services are facing amid the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak, it is utterly incomprehensible that they would be treated in this way.
“Irrespective of the fact that this individual has chosen to use Coronavirus as the means to assault our colleague, this is a subject which we have campaigned long and hard over.
“It led to the introduction of the Assaults on Emergency Workers Act in 2018, and we will continue to use these powers against anyone who attempts to use such tactics against the very people who are trying to protect them.
“The message is clear, we will not tolerate this behaviour from the minority, and the criminal justice system will take a dim view of those who take advantage of the virus for their own benefit.
“Clearly, this has been particularly distressing for the officer concerned, and we are providing the necessary support.
“It has not yet, however, been ascertained if the woman arrested was suffering from COVID-19.”
Only last week, the Crown Prosecution Service announced that it would be taking a zero-tolerance approach to anyone who intentionally coughs on an emergency worker.
Max Hill QC, Director of Public Prosecutions, said:
“Emergency workers are more essential than ever as society comes together to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
“I am therefore appalled by reports of police officers and other frontline workers being deliberately coughed at by people claiming to have Covid-19.
“Let me be very clear: this is a crime and needs to stop.
“The CPS stands behind emergency and essential workers and will not hesitate to prosecute anybody who threatens them as they go about their vital duties.”
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