Assaulting our police and key workers is #unnacceptable

Our key workers are doing an incredible job of keeping our communities going through the unprecedented lockdown.

Police officers are continuing to keep people safe while also ensuring that members of the public keep to the incredibly important measures that will guarantee the virus does not spread any further.

Paramedics, nurses and doctors risk their lives on a daily basis to help those who have been affected by Covid-19 – and as we have seen, tragically a number of them across the country have already paid the ultimate price for their dedication.

But I’m not just talking about members of the emergency services and healthcare professionals. Cleaners and porters are making sure our hospitals can continue to operate, carers are looking after vulnerable people who have to isolate, while drivers and supermarket workers ensure people can continue to get food and other essential products as the lockdown continues.

We’ve all seen the heartwarming outpours of gratitude, when people across the nation come to their front doors every Thursday night to applaud the NHS and other key workers.

This crisis has certainly shown who the real heroes are.

Sadly, there is a tiny minority who aren’t quite so appreciative. We have seen cases across the county of police officers and other key workers, and even of volunteers who are giving their time for free to help others, receiving abuse.

This includes verbal abuse, physical assaults, and being deliberately coughed or sneezed at.

We have already seen the case of one man who has already been sentenced to 24 weeks in prison at Poole Magistrates’ Court for offences of assaulting an emergency worker, failing to comply with a direction of the coronavirus legislation and being drunk in a public place after coughing at police officers and saying ‘have some of the coronavirus’.

Our colleagues in the NHS and both local authorities, who are also working incredibly hard to keep critical services going, have reported their staff have also endured similar kinds of behaviour.

I’m sure the vast majority of the Dorset public would agree with me that these despicably and cowardly acts should not be tolerated.

This week, we launch our #Unacceptable campaign – making it clear that these abhorrent attacks on essential workers will not be tolerated.

Dorset Police will deal with offenders robustly and will do all they can to bring criminal proceedings against those responsible.

So if anybody who thinks it’s OK to assault, verbally abuse, cough at or sneeze over a key worker, there’s one simple message – you are wrong, the public are against you, and the police and criminal justice system will endeavour to meet your actions with the harshest punishments possible.

The brave men and women who are out on the front line represent the very best of our society and they should not have to fear being held back in their efforts by those who represent the worst.

 

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