More time for cop assaults considered
The Tasmanian Government is looking at harsher penalties for people who assault off-duty police officers.
Tasmania already has minimum six-month jail sentencse for assaults on police, the Government wants to amend the Sentencing Act so that the same mandatory sentencing applies to any serious assault on an off-duty police officer.
Police Minister Rene Hidding said people needed to know that assaults would not be tolerated.
“It's not beyond the realms of possibility somebody might feel malice towards a police officer, particularly if they've had interactions with various police in the past,” Mr Hidding said.
“To take it out on an off-duty police officer is demonstrably an appalling thing to do and we want to protect our frontline workers, not just on the job but in any circumstance as a result of their job.
“In a small community like Tasmania, it's entirely possible that they could well be targeted in social situations.”
A harsh new light was thrown on the issue after a recent assault case in the state’s north.
“This person was assaulted for no reason at all. He was just assaulted and could easily have fallen over and hit his head on the concrete on the way down,’ Mr Hidding said.
“This recent incident reveals that some individuals may feel malice towards police officers, either individually or generally, and this amendment will ensure zero tolerance applies when our hard-working police officers are targeted because of their jobs.”
The new rules are expected to come with an exemption that will apply if a defendant can prove that the assault was not motivated by the victim being a police officer.
The Police Association of Tasmania has welcomed the legislation, which is set to be tabled within weeks.