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People Deliberately Coughing At Emergency And Essential Workers Could Face 12 Month Prison Sentence

People Deliberately Coughing At Emergency And Essential Workers Could Face 12 Month Prison Sentence

Anyone using coronavirus to threaten emergency workers could face serious criminal charges which are punishable with up to 12 months in prison, the Director of Public Prosecutions warned today (26 March).

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) intervention comes after reports in recent days of police, shop workers and vulnerable groups being deliberately coughed on by people claiming to have the disease.

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Reports of people deliberately coughing has been rising. Stock image. Credit: PA
Reports of people deliberately coughing has been rising. Stock image. Credit: PA

A press release from the CPS read: "Such behaviour is illegal and assaults specifically against emergency workers are punishable by up to 12 months in prison."

Putting it bluntly, stop coughing on people.

Max Hill QC, Director of Public Prosecutions, said: "Emergency workers are more essential than ever as society comes together to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

"I am therefore appalled by reports of police officers and other frontline workers being deliberately coughed at by people claiming to have Covid-19.

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"Let me be very clear: this is a crime and needs to stop. The CPS stands behind emergency and essential workers and will not hesitate to prosecute anybody who threatens them as they go about their vital duties."

A member of the NHS West Midlands Ambulance Service, wearing protective clothing and a face mask, speaks to passengers from the coronavirus-hit Grand Princess cruise ship. Credit: PA
A member of the NHS West Midlands Ambulance Service, wearing protective clothing and a face mask, speaks to passengers from the coronavirus-hit Grand Princess cruise ship. Credit: PA

These new measures come after a number of cases had to be referred to UK courts.

Yesterday (25 March), Darren Rafferty admitted three counts of assaulting an emergency worker after claiming to have coronavirus and directing coughs at Metropolitan Police officers arresting him for another offence.

The 45-year-old from Dagenham, east London, will sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court on 1 April.

David Mott, 40, was jailed yesterday after threatening to spit at police in Blackburn who had asked him what he was doing out with two others after the Prime Minister's announcement of stricter social distancing rules on Monday night.

He was jailed for 26 weeks after being charged with possession of an offensive weapon, possession of a Class B drug and threatening behaviour.

In January, the CPS published new guidance strengthening its approach to assaults on emergency workers after analysis revealed it had prosecuted almost 20,000 cases since the legislation first came into force in November 2018.

It's okay to not panic. LADbible and UNILAD's aim with our campaign, Cutting Through, is to provide our community with facts and stories from the people who are either qualified to comment or have experienced first-hand the situation we're facing. For more information from the World Health Organisation on Coronavirus, click here.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: uk news, News, Coronavirus, crime

Rebecca Shepherd

I'm Becky - a journalist at LADbible. I graduated with a First Class BA in Journalism before going on to cover criminal court cases, medical tribunals and breaking news for the national media - which inevitably and eventually became as glum as it sounds. Can often be found rocking a bag for life - which I made a 'thing' way before Rihanna. You can contact me at [email protected]

 

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