Spitting at police officer case dropped
CPS drops first case under new laws as it is deemed ‘not in the public interest’
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.