A North Yorkshire woman who deliberately coughed at police officers has been jailed for 16 weeks.
Lisa Dawn Fisher, 31, of Westbourne Grove, Scarborough, pleaded guilty at the town’s magistrates’ court to two counts of common assault against an emergency worker.
On 30 January 2021 officers attended an address in Scarborough to investigate a reported breach of coronavirus regulations.
While the officers were in conversation with one occupant of a flat, Fisher became verbally abusive and obstructive towards officers before deliberately coughing at them.
She was sentenced on 17 February 2021, and in addition to 16 weeks’ imprisonment, was also ordered to pay £75 compensation.
Chief Inspector Rachel Wood of Scarborough and Ryedale Command, said: “This sentence sends a clear message of how serious the criminal justice system takes such behaviour.
“All too often police officers and staff are subjected to assaults and threats while carrying out their work to protect members of the public – including the very people who abuse them.
“Police officers are human, they have families, they choose to do a job that puts them in harm’s way for the good of the community.
“Assaults on them will not be tolerated and anyone who deliberately tries to use coronavirus to harm them can expect a swift trip to the cells.”
Official figures show that in the six months leading up to the end of January 2020, North Yorkshire Police made 104 arrests following assaults against emergency services workers.
But in the same period up to late January 2021, 150 arrests were made – an increase of 45%.
The situation in North Yorkshire reflects a wider trend, with other forces reporting rising numbers of officer assaults.