Spit­ting at po­lice of­fi­cer case dropped

CPS drops first case un­der new laws as it is deemed ‘not in the pub­lic in­ter­est’

The Daily Telegraph - - Front page - By Charles Hy­mas HOME AF­FAIRS ED­I­TOR

The first pros­e­cu­tion for spit­ting at a po­lice of­fi­cer un­der new laws has been dropped af­ter the Crown Pros­e­cu­tion Ser­vice (CPS) ruled it was not in the pub­lic in­ter­est. The CPS made its rul­ing be­cause psy­chi­atric re­ports sug­gested the at­tacker, a ha­bit­ual drug user, was un­fit to stand trial.

THE first pros­e­cu­tion for spit­ting at a po­lice of­fi­cer un­der new laws has failed af­ter the Crown Pros­e­cu­tion Ser­vice (CPS) ruled it was not in the pub­lic in­ter­est.

The of­fender, a drug user, as­saulted Insp Alex Tay­lor by spit­ting into his eyes, re­quir­ing him to un­dergo ey­e­rins­ing treat­ment and tests for hep­ati­tis.

“It was ab­so­lutely dis­gust­ing. I would rather be punched and kicked than spat on,” said Insp Tay­lor, an in­spec­tor with Greater Manch­ester Po­lice with more than 20 years’ ser­vice.

The case was dropped af­ter the CPS ruled it was not in the pub­lic in­ter­est be­cause psy­chi­atric re­ports sug­gested the at­tacker was un­fit to stand trial.

A spokesman said: “Fol­low­ing con­sid­er­a­tion of a psy­chi­atric re­port, we con­cluded it was not in the pub­lic in­ter­est to prosecute.”

There is grow­ing con­cern among min­is­ters and front­line po­lice of­fi­cers that courts and pros­e­cu­tors are not tak­ing at­tacks on po­lice se­ri­ously enough.

Fol­low­ing the death of Pc An­drew Harper, who was dragged to his death by a ve­hi­cle af­ter go­ing to in­ves­ti­gate a re­ported bur­glary, Priti Pa­tel, the Home Sec­re­tary, de­manded a crack­down by courts and pros­e­cu­tors on as­saults on po­lice.

John Apter, chair­man of the Po­lice Fed­er­a­tion of Eng­land and Wales, said: “There’s has got to be a de­ter­rence. The over­whelm­ing feel­ing from very many po­lice of­fi­cers is that the wider crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem doesn’t rate as­saults on of­fi­cers with suf­fi­cient grav­i­tas.”

Insp Tay­lor, who was at­tacked by the “ag­gres­sive” 52-year-old man as he tried to calm him at a po­lice sta­tion, said he did not know why the case was dropped.

“If he had been sec­tioned, and I had been told then, I would have un­der­stood that,” he said. “I’ve been as­saulted many times over my 22 years on the po­lice, and I was hop­ing that the new leg­is­la­tion would have a much big­ger im­pact on the way we were treated as vic­tims by the CPS and the courts.”

The al­leged of­fence came just three months af­ter the new As­sault on Emer­gency Work­ers (Of­fences) Act made as­saults on of­fi­cers pun­ish­able with jail terms of up to 12 months.

Po­lice chiefs, how­ever, say the sen­tenc­ing coun­cil has yet to pro­vide guide­lines to courts and judges to en­sure spit­ting is treated as a se­ri­ous as­sault re­quir­ing longer sen­tences.

Greater Manch­ester Po­lice con­firmed that a 52-yearold man had been ar­rested and sub­se­quently charged with com­mon as­sault of an emer­gency worker.

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