Frontline emergency workers face assaults despite jail warning

Police officers are being deliberately coughed and spat at by suspects despite warnings that using Covid-19 as a threat could lead to two years in jail.

A man was Tasered in north London after it was claimed he attacked officers in a car, while another allegedly spat at three officers in Brighton.

Last week director of public prosecutions Max Hill warned the public that using Covid-19 as a threat against emergency workers would be treated as a crime that could lead to up to two years in prison.

Metropolitan Police firearms officers said on Twitter that they had Tasered a suspect for deliberately “coughing saliva” over officers in Seven Sisters Road in Haringey.

They were driving along at around 4.20pm on Saturday when a 24-year-old man “began to shout and make rude gestures towards them”.

When the firearms officers stopped to talk to him, they said he “shouted that he had coronavirus before deliberately coughing saliva all over them”.

He then began to physically attack the officers, it is claimed, before he was Tasered and arrested on suspicion of public order offences and assault on an emergency worker.

The man has been bailed until early April.

In Brighton, police were called to a report of criminal damage at a block of flats in Albion Street at about 5.50pm on Saturday, where they arrested Peter Davy, 65, who allegedly spat at officers.

Davy, of Albion Street, is due to appear at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on Monday accused of three counts of assaulting an emergency worker.

He is also charged with using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent to cause fear of violence; and using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

In a separate incident in Salford, a hospital worker suffered a fractured cheekbone after he was punched in the face.

Greater Manchester Police said Daniel Shevlin, 27, had been charged with Section 20 assault and an offence under Section 4a of the Public Order Act after the alleged incident at Salford Royal Infirmary on Sunday.

Officers were called just before 1.50pm to reports a man had assaulted a member of NHS staff at the hospital.

The staff member – a man in his 50s – required treatment for a fractured cheekbone but has since been discharged, police said.

A force spokesman said Shevlin, of no fixed abode, had been remanded in custody and was due to appear at Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court on Monday.