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Criminals using Covid-19 as a 'biological weapon', frontline officer says

7 May 2020, 15:58

By Kate Buck

A police officer on the frontline in the battle against coronavirus says he and his colleagues are being targeted by criminals using the virus as a "biological weapon".

Speaking to LBC News, Gareth Spreadbury, who works as a response Sergeant in Birmingham, said while officers expect to be assaulted during their everyday jobs, the attacks during the Covid-19 have been "on another level".

"When we got there the male was extremely abusive, very aggressive and at one point he told officers he's got Covid-19 and he's going to spit on all our faces," he said.

"He arched back his shoulders and his neck ready to spit and at the moment myself and my officers have had to fly into action and use tactical options to get him to the ground to prevent him from spitting on us."

Sergeant Gareth Spreadbury says he and his officers are facing being assaulted during the coronavirus pandemic
Sergeant Gareth Spreadbury says he and his officers are facing being assaulted during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: LBC News

Sgt Spreadbury added: "There is a real chance and a real threat that this person may have Covid, and ultimately thats a biological weapon and a ticking time bomb.

"Police officers looks confident, and they look like superheroes at times and they are, but we still have that underlying thought of we may not come back from this and it's scary."

Last week, we reported on PC Annie Napier, who bravely remained on the frontline after a thug spat blood into her eye.

Temisan Oritsejafor, 41, was already on bail for assaulting another officer when police were again called to him at a block of flats in Coventry on 18 April.

But when PC Napier arrested him following a disturbance at the address, he launched a disgusting assault and spat at her.

Oritsejafor is now facing a lengthy jail sentence for his crimes, and PC Napier has thankfully suffered no ill health.

Last week, we reported on PC Annie Napier, who bravely remained on the frontline after a thug spat blood into her eye.
Last week, we reported on PC Annie Napier, who bravely remained on the frontline after a thug spat blood into her eye. Picture: West Midlands Police

West Midlands Police said they will be pushing for tougher sentences for those who have assaulted police while they try and keep the public safe during the pandemic.

Superintendent Jenny Skryme, from Force Response, said: "It is vulgar and unacceptable to spit at anybody, but even more so a key worker who is putting themselves at risk to keep people safe and catch criminals.

"Our officers are bravely and repeatedly on the frontline despite the understandable safety concerns across the country. This type of assault on our staff is deplorable and shouldn’t, and won’t be, tolerated."

Additional reporting by Laura Hough.

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