BLACK & BLUE
THREE POLICE ATTACKS IN CITY WEEKLY
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?”