Townsville Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - CHRIS McMA­HON

MORE than three po­lice a week are be­ing punched, kicked and spat on by crim­i­nals in Townsville.

In the space of a month, more than a dozen of­fi­cers have been se­ri­ously as­saulted on the job, in­clud­ing three who were spat on in two days, one who was punched in the face out­stide a night­club and another who was pushed into a car, shat­ter­ing a win­dow with their arm.

Fig­ures ob­tained ex­clu­sively by the Bul­letin re­veal 168 of­fi­cers have been as­saulted in the Townsville po­lice dis­trict in the past year, not in­clud­ing the latest of­fences.

The fig­ures from June 1, 2014, to May 31 this year show 11 as­saults oc- ca­sion­ing bod­ily harm, 73 se­ri­ous as­saults and 84 as­saults against po­lice.

Townsville Po­lice Sta­tion act­ing of­fi­cer in charge Se­nior Sergeant Craig Robert­son said po­lice were al­most re­signed to be­ing at­tacked at some time in their ca­reers.

“All po­lice will get as­saulted at some time, but it shouldn’t be ac­cepted and it shouldn’t hap­pen,” Sen- Sgt Robert­son said. “There is an in­crease in po­lice as­saults – it’s not ac­cept­able be­hav­iour and we are tak­ing a re­ally hard stance on it.

“Ev­ery ac­tion has a re­ac­tion and ( crim­i­nals) must re­alise those con­se­quences may be that they wake up in hos­pi­tal or the watch­house.

“They will be charged with se­ri­ous as­sault, which the mag­is­trates ac­knowl­edge is a se­ri­ous of­fence that comes with hefty penal­ties.”

Sen- Sgt Robert­son said po­lice were reg­u­lar peo­ple just do­ing a job and try­ing to get home safely to their fam­i­lies.

“When we are put into volatile sit­u­a­tions, we have to think of our wel­fare and we have to treat that ag­gres­sive per­son dif­fer­ently,” he said.

“We don’t look for con­flict and we don’t want to deal with it with ac­tions that could hurt them or us but it’s the per­son’s be­hav­iour that dic­tates how the mat­ter is re­solved.”

North­ern Re­gion Act­ing As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Paul Tay­lor said younger peo­ple were re­sort­ing to vi­o­lence more fre­quently, of­ten spit­ting on po­lice, an at­tack which he de­scribed as “de­spi­ca­ble”.

“Sadly, it is a fact of life that if you are a po­lice of­fi­cer these days, you’re more than likely go­ing to be as­saulted dur­ing the course of your du­ties – that’s a sad re­al­ity,” he said.

“Po­lice aren’t there as punch­ing bags or spit­toons and sadly there are some peo­ple out there who think they are and it’s just not right.”

Mr Tay­lor said po­lice de­served re­spect, not ag­gres­sion, in per­form­ing their du­ties in pro­tect­ing the com­mu­nity.

“There is not one ex­am­ple I can think of where po­lice have been as­saulted where it has been a good out­come for ei­ther party,” he said.

“These peo­ple show no re­spect for them­selves or any­one else and need to con­sider how they’re go­ing to live their life be­cause a lot of them are young peo­ple and have a lot of years ahead of them. If they keep con­duct­ing them­selves in this man­ner, they’re not go­ing to have a very good life.

“They should think of their own fam­ily. How would they like one of their loved ones to be­come a vic­tim of that type of ac­tiv­ity? How would they like it if some­one treated them that way?”

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