A man who spat at a Hampshire Police officer claiming he had coronavirus has been jailed.
PC Stan Howe was attending a domestic concern for welfare call in Farnborough when Jason Porter – who was at the time self-isolating because of Covid-19 – spat at the officer and claimed he was infected with deadly virus.
As a result of the attack on 1 April, PC Howe was forced to self-isolate for two weeks and his wife Lisa, who works for the NHS, was left anxiously worrying about her own health and safety and ability to carry on working.
Yesterday (Thursday 23 April), Porter was sentenced to 24 weeks behind bars for the spitting assault at officers and racially aggravated assault/racially aggravated public order.
He was also ordered to pay compensation.
Thankfully PC Howe did not contract the disease.
Hampshire Police Federation Chairman, Alex Charge, said anyone spitting at officers or emergency services workers, particularly in the current climate, must be sent to jail.
He said: “Anyone who spits at or threatens COVID-19 infection to police officers needs to be sent to prison. This case shows the wider harm caused to society by people who assault emergency service workers.
“There needs to be a clear message; if you behave like this, then you go to prison.”
Hampshire Assistant Chief Constable Scott Chilton said the attack was ‘weaponising’ the virus and had forced a dedicated officer to remove himself from the frontline.
He too wants to see jail terms handed down as a matter of course for those who assault officers in this way.
“In any situation, spitting is vile behaviour, but I am even more appalled and disgusted that it is now being used as a weapon by people in these extremely challenging times,” he said.
“Not only did this person’s selfish and dangerous actions put one of my officers at risk of contracting this virus, but it has also impacted on his whole family.
“I hope this outcome serves as a warning to anyone who behaves in this unacceptable manner – you will be arrested, and you will face the consequences of your actions.”
Following the attack, PC Howe’s wife Lisa said on Social Media: “Last night a Hampshire officer was spat on by someone who was self-isolating!
“Some will say ‘well, this is a hazard of the job’…. to us this police officer is a hero, husband, daddy, brother, uncle and this is totally unacceptable!
“Thanks to this person, the police officer is now in A&E due to the risk of hepatitis and has also been advised to self-isolate, meaning he is unable to be on the frontline.”