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Dartford and Gravesham MPs demand jail for those who spit at emergency workers

PUBLISHED: 07:00 22 April 2020

Dartford MP Gareth Johnson is spearheading demands for instant jail sentences for those who cough and spit at emergency workers. Picture: Gareth Johnson

Dartford MP Gareth Johnson is spearheading demands for instant jail sentences for those who cough and spit at emergency workers. Picture: Gareth Johnson

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The MPs for Dartford and Gravesham have joined forces with 14 other Kent Members of Parliament to demand instant jail sentences for people who cough or spit at any emergency worker.

Kent Chief Constable Alan Pughsley, left, and Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott. Picture: Kent PCCKent Chief Constable Alan Pughsley, left, and Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott. Picture: Kent PCC

Gareth Johnson and Adam Holloway are furious some think it is OK to deliberately cough or spit directly at police officers, health professionals, and other key workers.

Now 16 MPs have signed a letter that has been sent to Kent’s judiciary.

In the letter they say: “We believe that any person, convicted in Kent’s court of coughing or spitting at or in any other way threatening an emergency worker by using coronavirus, should expect an immediate term of imprisonment.”

They said it was with great anger that Kent MPs learned of a number incidents where police had been both spat at and coughed at by people claiming to have Covid-19.

Kent Police Chief Constable Alan Pughsley said: “My officers will always place themselves in harm’s way to protect the public and in doing so they are sadly and unacceptably assaulted in the lawful execution of their duty.

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“It is not unusual to have up to a dozen officer assaults over a single weekend and a growing number now include being spat at.

“The personal impact on my staff, and their families, requires months of medical testing and a great deal of anxiety until such tests have been completed.

“I am saddened that this behaviour is increasing, and I will stop at nothing to bring those disgraceful offenders to justice.”

And Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott added: “It’s disgusting that there are a few who think it is acceptable to spit at or attack them - and even more so when trying to cause fear by threatening them with Covid-19.

“I hope that the law will be used to protect all emergency services and key workers with long prison sentences for those who attack them.”

The letter, co-ordinated by Mr Johnson, was sent to senior judges at Maidstone and Canterbury Crown Courts plus magistrates courts.

Helen Whately, MP for Faversham, didn’t sign because of her ministerial position as parliamentary under-secretary of state for arts, heritage and tourism.


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