Coronavirus: Police spat on or coughed at 70 times in just one county since lockdown began

Jimmy Nsubuga
·2 min read
Police officers walk through Mote Park in Maidstone, Kent, the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)
Police officers walk through Mote Park in Maidstone, Kent (Picture: Getty)

A police chief has revealed his officers have been continuously spat at or coughed on during the coronavirus lockdown.

Kent Police Chief Constable Alan Pughsley wants the courts to issue the “hardest sentences” possible for the attacks.

The incidents started when strict “stay at home” restrictions were implemented on 23 March to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Mr Pughsley said: “We're up to about 70 assaults on staff from spitting and coughing and such-like appalling behaviour.

“Those offenders have been arrested, they have been charged, remanded by my staff and put in front of the court.

“I hope the courts issue the hardest sentences they possibly can for people like that in this incredible unprecedented time.”

Read more: People could meet ’10 friends and family members’ under new rules for lockdown

Police officers patrol in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London on April 24, 2020 during the national lockdown due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Police officers patrol in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London (Picture: Getty)

The police chief revealed the figure on Friday during a weekly briefing, which aims to keep the public informed as the force responds to the pandemic.

Kent's police and crime commissioner, Matthew Scott, labelled the offenders “scumbags” for assaulting officers whilst they were trying to maintain the social distancing rules.

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He added: “It's absolutely disgusting that there are lowlifes out there who will spit on police officers or cough at them, irrespective of whether they had the disease or not.

"That they would even threaten it just goes to show what scumbags they really are.”

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Mr Pughsley revealed that seven officers had tested positive for Covid-19, and a further 24 were self-isolating with symptoms.

One officer was admitted to hospital for treatment but has now returned home.

The police chief said: “We're pleased that officers and staff that have Covid-19 are doing incredibly well.

"None of them are in hospital anymore and none of them went into intensive care.

“As we speak today its six police officers and two police staff with confirmed Covid-19, and about 25 to 30 people who we suspected may have the virus. We'll get them tested as soon as possible."

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