Australia: Southern Australia new legislation to soon enforce mandatory blood testing of offenders for spitting at, or biting police officers

MORE than 100 police officers are being spat at each year, exposing them to infectious diseases and raising the concerns of their union.

Police figures show 111 officers were spat at in 2013 and that total has remained steady each year since, although they refused to release new figures.

South Australian Police Association president Mark Carroll said he hoped new legislation, which is expected to soon become law, enforcing mandatory blood testing of offenders who assault police would protect his members.

“When, in the course of duty, officers are spat on, bitten or otherwise assaulted in a way involving an exchange of bodily fluids, it’s essential that these officers have access to blood samples from the assailant that can be tested,” he said.

The comments come after the sentencing of Brandon William Peter Humes who spat on an officer during an arrest him and told him ‘I don’t give a f — k … I have HIV AIDS and now you’ve got it too’.

In sentencing Humes, 27, this month District Court Judge Rauf Soulio said the officer had to restrain Humes which left him unable to immediately “decontaminate himself”.

“Your comments about HIV caused him great distress,” Judge Soulio said.

 “He felt unable to hold his infant daughter, who was born prematurely, for fear of passing on a communicable disease.

“He had to deal with the fear of waiting for blood results, which were, fortunately, negative.”

Humes was sentenced to four years and six months jail with a non-parole period of two years for armed robbery and the spitting offence in June last year.

Also, Senior Sergeant Alison Coad contracted oral herpes after being spat on by a criminal.

SAPOL would not comment on the medical history of officers but said “this type of incident (spitting) is always of concern.”

“This type of behaviour is totally inappropriate and can result in offenders facing very serious charges,” a spokeswoman said.

The WA Police Union has recently requested officers be equipped with spit hoods because of a spike in incidents there.

Orginally published in The Advertiser