Mandatory jail time for targeted assaults against police officers announced

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A person who assaults a police officer may now end up behind bars after minimum mandatory jail time for those convicted of causing serious bodily harm to on-duty police officers has been successfully legislated.

“This legislation is sending a strong message that assaults against our hardworking police will not be tolerated, but a recent case in the state’s North has highlighted an issue when violence is directed against police officers who are off-duty,” said Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management, Rene Hidding.

“While some individuals may feel aggrieved by police officers generally, there are no circumstances in which police officers should be targeted and assaulted because of their job.

“Accordingly, I am pleased to announce that the Government will amend the Sentencing Act 1997 to ensure the same mandatory sentencing provision applies to any offence directed against a police officer, on or off-duty, when the offence is motivated by that person’s status as a serving police officer.

Minister Hidding said an exception to the provision will apply if defendant can prove to the court that the offence wasn’t motivated.

“We make no apologies for introducing a minimum mandatory jail sentence for those convicted of causing serious bodily harm to police officers, nor for extending that protection to off-duty officers, as this will further assist in restoring community respect for those who put their safety on the lines for others while giving reassurance to their families and friends,” he said.

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