PC pours hand sanitiser in own eyes after being spat at
1 May 2020, 11:30 | Updated: 1 May 2020, 12:03
A police officer has told LBC News about the moment he had to pour hand sanitiser into his own eyes after a suspect spat at him.
Figures from three forces in the Midlands alone show at least 164 attacks on key workers have been reported since the coronavirus lockdown began.
Nottinghamshire PC Anthony Brice has told us he was left anxious when he was spat at during a call.
The officer said he arrested a man, and as he was leading him out of the address "he turned around and spat in my left eye."
The PC revealed he restrained the man who "then turned around and spat in my colleague's face also."
Once the offender was in handcuffs the cop said: "That's when I've had to pour hand sanitiser in my eye, because I was more than a little worried about him spitting at me, especially with Covid."
PC Brice revealed the man who attacked him was sentenced to six months in jail for assault on an emergency worker.
His force also released a video today urging the public not to attack key workers.
Frontline workers have come together after more than 60 incidents in Nottingham where the essential staff have been 'coughed on or spat at' during the coronavirus outbreak.
The video features staff working across healthcare and the emergency services, featuring doctors, nurses, paramedics, police officers, prison officers, firefighters and other frontline workers from across the county as they continue to work through the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nottinghamshire Police said they have investigated 61 incidents where key wrokers were coughed on or spat at during the five-week period from Friday, March 20 to Monday, April 27.
The video appeal asks people treat key workers with respect, and has attracted the backing of a number of organisations, including Nottinghamshire Police who have said people who attack key workers should expect "the harshest possible treatment."
Nottinghamshire Police Chief Constable Craig Guildford said: "The vast majority of the public are pulling together and are doing everything they can - despite how frustrating we know that can be for them - to follow the government advice to stay at home and help save lives as the country continues to deal with the outbreak.
"Throughout this time, key workers in the NHS, fire service, police and other essential public services have been selflessly putting themselves in harm’s way and spending precious time away from their loved ones to protect the communities they serve.
"These assaults, which have included frontline staff being coughed on, spat at and violently assaulted, have been committed at a time when they are working hard to protect the public they are proud to serve.
"I find it abhorrent that anyone would ever think to spit or cough at an emergency worker and my message to those essential key workers is clear.
"Nottinghamshire Police, their fellow key workers and the majority of Nottinghamshire are right behind you as we work to defeat the virus together."
The Crown Prosecution Service said any incidents of coughs directed as a threat at other key workers or members of the public could be charged as common assault.
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.”