Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Dave Grills MLC has welcomed the announced drop in assaults against police officers, following the State Government’s introduction of mandatory sentencing laws.
Mr Grills said there was a 34 per cent reduction in police assaults in 2015 compared with 2009, when the laws were passed.
“This is a significant reduction in assaults, since these laws for people who assault police were first introduced,” he said.
“I am particularly pleased about this result, having worked on the frontline for the WA police force and in the Goldfields region.
“During this time I saw a number of my colleagues assaulted for simply doing their job. Police are not punching bags and suffer injury like everyone else.”
In 2009, there were 1227 incidents where WA police officers were assaulted and this reduced to 800 police assaults last year.
Data revealed that assaults against public officers had reduced by 26 per cent in 2015, compared with 2009. Incidents of obstructing public officers have also reduced.
The Liberal National Government passed laws in 2009, which have seen offenders face a minimum jail term of 12 months for inflicting grievous bodily harm to police and other public officers; nine months for bodily harm (in circumstances of aggravation); and six months for assault causing bodily harm.
“This legislation sends a strong message to the community that violent attacks against police and other public officers will not be tolerated across our State,” Mr Grills said.
“The reduction in assaults indicates that the legislation is achieving positive results and improving safety for our police officers.”
Mr Grills said although the reductions were encouraging, it was important to remind the community of the laws.
“It is important that we continue to protect our police, and the small section of the community who attack officers need to know they will be locked up for their actions,” he said.
Mandatory jail terms apply for assaults against police, ambulance officers, transit guards, court security officers, prison officers and youth custodial officers.