The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have warned the public that anyone who deliberately coughs or spits at an emergency worker will face serious criminal charges.
The statement from the CPS came on Wednesday (26th March) after they received numerous reports from around the country that emergency workers and vulnerable people were being coughed at by people claiming to have the virus.
This is illegal and Cumbria Police will arrest anyone who demonstrates this type of behaviour for common assault, which can result in a prison sentence of up to twelve months.
T/Chief Superintendent Rob O’Connor said: “It is deplorable at any time that people think it is acceptable to assault an emergency worker, whether they be a police officer, paramedic, nurse, firefighter or other emergency worker who is a public servant.
“It is clearly aggravated when a person deliberately coughs or spits towards an emergency worker and we welcome the support of the CPS in charging these people appropriately.
“Sadly we have seen examples in the last couple of weeks of police officers being spat at/coughed at and people have also in some cases falsely claimed to have coronavirus which has then caused undue worry and stress for our officers.
“Now is the time when we need our emergency services more than ever to help tackle this national emergency and we are not helped by people acting in such an irresponsible manner. We will be taking a zero tolerance approach to acts such as these and ask people to think before they act.”