Case study: West Mids - spat at

Two West Mids officers were spat at and endured an agonising six-month wait to find out if they'd contracted life-threatening diseases - one was unable to see a close family member who was undergoing chemotherapy due to the risk of infection. This is their story...

Coventry-based response officers PC Mike Bruce and PC Alan O’Shea were called to a pub to deal with a fight involving a middle-aged man and his son. The pair resisted arrest and the older man spat in Mike’s face and mouth and did the same to Alan.

The offender refused to consent to a blood test which could have proven whether he was carrying life-threatening diseases, so both officers were given injections and had to be placed on a course of anti-viral drugs.

Mike had a false reading of hepatitis B and his wife and 12-month-old child were forced to have blood tests and injections. Alan was unable to see a close family member who was undergoing chemotherapy for several months.

The offender was charged with affray but received a suspended sentence. He was ordered to pay £250 compensation to Mike and £500 to Alan. The officers believe the sentences were light considering the offender’s behaviour and lack of remorse in refusing the blood test.

They believe that spit and bite guards could have prevented the assaults and if they had been equipped with body worn cameras it would have resulted in a more severe sentence.

This case study is based on the feelings of the officers based on the medical advice and treatment given at the time.  The National AIDS Trust provides guidance for police forces on HIV as well as general information on HIV and AIDS.

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