Western Australia Attorney General Christian Porter
Western Australia Minister for Police Rob Johnson
Assaults Against Police Plummet Under Mandatory Sentencing Laws
Victor P Taffa
Reported Assaults against Police Officers have dropped by 28 % since the Liberal-National Government introduced Mandatory Sentencing Legislation in September last year.
Attorney General Christian Porter and Police Minister Rob Johnson said Police Statistics had revealed there were 969 assault offences against Police from September 2009 to the end of August this year – 377 offences less than in the same period in 2008-09.
“What we have seen is a rapid and remarkable reduction in the number of assaults against Police and other Officers that coincided with the introduction of Mandatory Sentencing last year.” Mr. Porter said.
“The very point of this legislation was to send a message to the community that violent attacks against our Police and other Public Officers would no longer be tolerated in Western Australia.”
“If media coverage of these laws caused people to stop and think before assaulting an officer, this legislation would have been worth it the fact that assaults are down nearly 30 % is outstanding.” Mr. Porter said.
Mr. Johnson said in the first eight months of 2010, there had been 590 offences of assaults against Police reported, which was a decrease of 32.7 % or 287 offences compared with the same period in 2009.
“Importantly, the statistics have shown that since the legislation came into effect, reported assaults against Police Officers are now lower than at any point in the past five years.” Mr. Johnson said.
Assaults on other Public Officers also decreased by 7.5 % in the 2009-10 financial year compared to the 2008-09 financial year; and 20 % compared to the 2007-08 financial year.
Since September last year, there have been 12 charges under the Mandatory Sentencing Legislation of bodily harm or grievous bodily harm to a Police Officer; one against a Prison officer; and one against a transit officer approved by police prosecutions central division.
Of those 14 charges, five offenders had been found guilty of, or pleaded guilty to, the offences; a further five are in remand awaiting trial; one offender is subject to a bench warrant; one case was downgraded by the DPP to assault Public Officer and the other two cases were discontinued.
The following is a breakdown of offences and sentencing outcomes of the five offenders found guilty or who pleaded guilty under Mandatory Sentencing Charges:
- Female offender at Kelmscott Train Station bit right arm of a female transit officer causing swelling, bruising and bleeding. The victim was conveyed to hospital for treatment and underwent a blood test due to bodily fluid exposure. Imprisonment nine months;
- Female offender in Rangeway punched a Male Police Officer to the right side of the face causing immediate pain and swelling. The victim required analgesics and pain-killing injection. Imprisonment nine months;
- Male offender on Roe Highway punched a Police Officer to the mouth causing a large split in the lower lip, which required five stitches, as well as swelling and soreness to the area of his jaw. Imprisonment six months, one day;
- Female offender at Broome Police Station struck a Police Officer to the face causing bleeding and swelling to the nose. Medical treatment was sought for possible broken nose. Imprisonment six months, one day;
- Female offender in Northbridge punched female Police Officer to the face causing sustained fractures to left cheekbone, severe soreness in the face with suspected dental complications. Victim will require ongoing treatment. Awaiting sentencing.
Mr. Johnson said in the past year, 37 cases had been considered for charging under the mandatory sentencing legislation however, only 12 met the criteria.
“This is further indication that this legislation is being applied soberly, carefully and in accordance with the State Government’s expectations.” the Minister said.
“Despite shrill and alarmist claims made by the Opposition last year, the mandatory sentencing legislation has produced successful outcomes.” Mr. Johnson said.