New blood test laws to protect police

Legislation mandating blood testing for people who bite or spit at police officers has been introduced by the State Government into Parliament. Police Minister Liza Harvey said the legislation, which was an election commitment, meant that a person who exposed a police officer to the risk of infectious disease would be required to undergo blood testing.

“Currently, the police officer has to wait an anxious three to six months for test results to confirm whether they have contracted a disease,” Mrs Harvey said.

“This legislation will allow for the taking of bodily samples from the offender which will help with early diagnosis, clinical management and treatment of the exposed police officer.  We need to protect officers who are on the frontline protecting us.”

The Minister said the number of recent cases involving offenders biting or spitting at officers was alarming and the level of anxiety it placed on police and their families was unacceptable.

“One officer who in 2012 was spat on by an offender - who claimed he was HIV positive - later suffered anxiety attacks and is still on medication for depression,” she said.

“Another officer had to wait three months in 2013 for the all-clear after having blood spat at him by an offender who had Hepatitis C and claimed to have AIDS.”