People who spit or throw other bodily materials at police officers and other emergency services workers would face tough penalties under new laws proposed by the Marshall Liberal Government.
Attorney-General Vickie Chapman said the Government will introduce legislation to reflect the serious nature of these offences – increasing the maximum penalty to five years for people convicted of harming a police officer or emergency services worker by conduct such as spitting, urinating or throwing faeces at them.
“There is no excuse for this type of disgusting behaviour and these changes will ensure our courts can take a far tougher stance on people who assault our first responders in this fashion,” said Attorney-General Vickie Chapman.
“The community service provided by frontline emergency services workers is of the highest order and they deserve the highest level of protection.”
The Attorney-General said the new laws would be comprehensive.
“The new law will be drafted in such a way as to ensure people who smear themselves in human biological material with the intention of transferring it to a police officer or prison guard will also be captured by this law,” said Attorney-General Vickie Chapman.
“This legislative change will leave offenders in no doubt that the State Government and the community take this type of offence very seriously indeed.”
Beyond this change, the State Government is also working through other proposals from the Police Association of SA and SAPOL.
One impact of the new Bill is to remove the offence of assaulting a police officer from the Summary Offences Act, so that this offending is dealt with under the more serious criminal law charges contained in the Criminal Law Consolidation Act.