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  1. ITV Report

Police officers coughed at by people claiming to have coronavirus

The North Wales Police Federation said at least two officers have been deliberately coughed at by people claiming they have coronavirus in the last few days.

Police officers in north Wales have been deliberately coughed at by members of the public who claim to have coronavirus.

The North Wales Police Federation said at least two officers have been targeted in the last few days.

A 24-year-old woman from Pwllheli has been arrested after spitting and coughing at a police officer while claiming she had the virus.

The woman also bit one officer and assaulted two others by pushing and striking them, after they were called to a disturbance in the town.

This disgusting behaviour at such a difficult time for everyone will not be tolerated and we will take firm action.

In this current environment regarding Covid-19, to potentially have to remove officers from the frontline and to lose the service that those officers bring to their communities, as we seek to ensure that we are able to respond to many evolving challenges, beggars belief.

No emergency service worker comes to work to be assaulted, and to spit at officers going about their roles is absolutely outrageous behaviour, and behaviour that I hope that Courts will take a dim view of.

– Chief Inspector Mark Armstrong, County Chief Inspector for Gwynedd, North Wales Police
Police forces have been patrolling streets around the UK to ensure lockdown measures are followed. Credit: PA Images

A man from London was jailed on Tuesday for coughing at two police officers in the English capital.

The 41-year-old, from south Norwood, south London, told officers he hoped they would pass the virus on to their children. He was sentenced to 19 weeks in prison.

Another man, from Derbyshire, who said he was a 'super spreader' of coronavirus was also jailed on Tuesday after coughing at police officers. He was jailed for 16 weeks.

The North Wales Police Federation said: "This is vile and makes us immensely angry. Our members are frontline; desperately trying to protect us all and this happens. Sickening."

Reports of a vile minority using the virus as a weapon against police officers trying to keep them safe beggars belief.

Coughing and spitting, threatening to spread Covid-19 to my colleagues is a disgusting act and must not be tolerated on any level.

– John Apter, National Chair of Police Federation

In March a man from north Wales was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison for spitting at an officer in the south Gwynedd area.

Police District Inspector Matt Geddes branded the offence "truly vile" and pointed out that it was even more serious given the current risks associated with coronavirus.

Police officers have the power to enforce rules on staying at home and avoiding non-essential travel.

Police were granted new powers in March to arrest people ignoring lockdown rules in Wales.

Those who do not comply with the new laws can be directed to return home from where they are. A number of fines can also be handed out.