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Date: 31 March 2020

The State Government has listened to calls from the WA Police Union to implement tougher penalties for individuals who threaten frontline workers such as police officers with COVID-19.

The Criminal Code Amendment (COVID-19 Response) Bill 2020, introduced into Parliament this week, amends The Criminal Code (WA) to introduce higher maximum penalties for the offences of serious assault and threats committed in the context of COVID-19.

WA Police Union President Harry Arnott said persons who claim they are infected with COVID-19 and threaten, deliberately spit, sneeze or wipe bodily fluids on emergency services workers will now face serious penalties, including prison time.

“We lobbied the McGowan Government vigourously in relation to this issue. It is pleasing to see this Government in particular the Minister for Police for leading the charge to protect the men and women serving on the frontline of this COVID crisis,” Mr Arnott said.

“These are significant penalties and will act as a major deterrent which in turn will assist to protect our police officers on the frontline.

“Our frontline workers, the police officers, nurses, ambulance officers and other vital workers, do not deserve to be threatened by idiots claiming to have COVID-19 in the current climate.”