Paramedic, cop bashing hotspots revealed
Criminals who assault emergency service workers could see the book thrown at them with harsher penalties, after shocking new data revealed the lack of prison sentences imposed on cop bashers.
Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research data, revealed exclusively to NewsLocal, uncovered a whopping 2841 people were sentenced for assaulting police in the past year - while just 419 experienced hard time in custody for the shocking acts.
Following a spate of recent police assaults, NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman announced a review of penalties, which currently include prison time between two and five years.
WHERE CONVICTED COP BASHERS COME FROM ACROSS NSW
Mr Speakman ordered a review to be conducted by the NSW Sentencing Council to reduce the number of "disgraceful acts" against police and other emergency services personnel.
"I've asked the NSW Sentencing Council to review the sentencing for offences involving assaults on these workers," Mr Speakman said. "My terms of reference to the council … (will) ask it to consider sentencing options to deter and reduce this type of offending.
"The review will take into account recent trends in assaults upon these workers, who keep our community safe, protecting our lives, property and health."
Former NSW Police officer and Seven Hills state Liberal MP Mark Taylor said during his time on the frontline he was "regularly bitten, kicked, and punched - much like the vast majority of police".
"I was fortunate enough to not be seriously injured while serving the community," Mr Taylor said. "But colleagues of mine weren't as lucky."
Mr Taylor is the deputy chair on the ongoing NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into assaults on members of the NSW Police Force, and told NewsLocal the Law and Justice Committee was determined to understand the reasoning behind assaults and develop effective strategies to prevent them.
"There is a lack of respect for police by certain people in our society, and when you have people disrespect police and fail to acknowledge the law, it places the community at harm," he said.
But Police aren't the only ones being attacked by those they are trying to protect on the frontline.
The move to review sentencing by the council, which will include representatives of NSW Police and victims of crime, comes as specialised NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research data uncovered the hot spots for paramedic assaults across the state.
Between January and December, 2019, there were 15 people convicted of assaulting paramedics across the state, with increased cases in Blacktown, Liverpool and Parramatta.
PARAMEDIC ASSAULTS BY LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA
Not one of the convicted criminals assaulting ambulance officers was sentenced to prison.
A total of six experienced a supervised community sentencing, while seven received the penalty of an unsupervised community sentence. Two more received a fine for their attack.
Australian Paramedics Association NSW president, Chris Kastelan, has been a paramedic for 23 years and said the trauma of assault leads to post traumatic stress for ambulance officers.
Mr Kastelan said he "wasn't surprised" but remains concerned by the number of attacks on paramedics across the state.
"The lack of strong sentencing sends a message to the public and these offenders that they can get away with assaulting a paramedic, which is worrying for our association," he said.
"Paramedics are getting injured at work through violence regularly - despite the fact that they put themselves on the line to assist people at their worst.
"And to be assaulted when you are trying to do your best to save a life is concerning."
Note: BOCSAR Police data includes a breakdown of charges relating to assault with intent to commit a serious indictable offence on certain officer, assault and other actions against police, assault on other law enforcement officers, assault on third parties and resisting police.