A 23-year-old man has pleaded guilty for spitting at a bus driver at Uxbridge Bus Station and later spitting at a police officer whilst in custody.
William Cawley, 23 of Grove Lane, Uxbridge appeared at Uxbridge Magistrates Court on Wednesday, 22 April, where he pleaded guilty to two counts of common assault.
The court heard how at around 5.10pm on Monday, 20 April, Cawley was at Uxbridge bus station when he entered a TFL bus through the wrong door.
When the bus driver informed him of this and requested he use the middle door, he became aggressive, spat at the driver and then exited the bus.
The bus driver informed officers who were on patrol near the bus station of the incident.
The officers were able to quickly identify Cawley, who then ran away. He was detained in Cocks Yard after a short foot chase. He was arrested on suspicion of common assault and taken into custody.
Once in custody, Cawley became aggressive again, this time spitting at a police officer and making threats of violence towards him, which included him stating he was infected with Covid-19.
He was further arrested on suspicion of common assault on an emergency worker.
Detective Chief Inspector Fiona Martin, of Roads & Transport Policing, said: “Spitting at someone is a disgusting thing to do in normal circumstances but at this uncertain time of Covid-19, it is offensive, reprehensible and dangerous.
“Key workers such as bus drivers are essential to keeping London moving and they are currently doing this under very difficult circumstances.
“They, alongside our officers who are all working hard as ever to keep London safe, do not come to work to be spat at.
“I hope the fact that Cawley has been remanded until sentencing shows that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated and will be dealt with great severity at all times.”
Siwan Hayward, Director of Compliance, Policing and On-street Services at TfL, said: “Spitting is a vile and abhorrent form of assault at any time, leaving a lasting impact on victims. That anyone could consider spitting on frontline workers during this national health emergency is absolutely shocking.
“Our bus drivers are nothing short of heroic, supporting the efforts to tackle coronavirus by providing transport for critical workers in the NHS, who are saving lives.
“We condemn this appalling incident in the strongest possible terms and will push for the maximum sentence. Safety is our absolute priority and we will continue doing all that we can to protect our staff.”
Crawley has been remanded to appear at the same court for sentencing on Wednesday, 29 April.
From Monday, 20 April, buses in London have temporarily become middle-door only boarding as part of TfL’s efforts to help combat coronavirus. The change builds on enhancements to drivers’ safety screens and is aimed at improving safety for bus drivers and critical workers as passengers are only be able to board using the centre doors of buses, enabling better social distancing while the city is fighting the virus.