28 March 2022
The NT Police Association welcomes the announcement from the CLP on proposed law reform which if passed would strengthen penalties for assaults on NT Police officers.
NTPA President Paul McCue said they had long been lobbying for harsher penalties for those convicted of assaulting a police officer - including serving jail time for the offence - to act as deterrent.
If passed the laws would see actual jail time for a first assault on a police officer and a mandatory three-month jail term for a second offence.
Members are regularly spat on, bitten, kicked, punched, and struck with objects when on the job and are at risk of serious injury or contracting a communicable disease.
According to the NTPA 2021 Member Survey, 35 per cent of respondents had been assaulted in the past 18 months. Of those 85 per cent had been assaulted up to three times with many requiring medical treatment and hospitalisation.
Mr McCue said a mandatory term of imprisonment would go some way toward community expectations as punishment for the physical and mental impact of an assault, including the cumulative effect this has on our members over time.
“Too often we hear of terrible incidents where our members are targeted with violence when all they are doing is there job – which is keeping the community safe. We are not there to be punching bags for the community, and we must have strong protection,” Mr McCue said.
“Sadly, when many offenders are found guilty more often than not they are given a suspended jail sentence and placed on a good behaviour bond.
“That does not send a strong enough message to the public in deterring assaults on our members.
“Police officers are Mums and Dads, sons and daughters, brothers, and sisters. They have families they expect to return home safely to at the end of their shift.
“We hope to see bipartisan support for this important improvement in protecting those who protect us and see this legislation supported and passed it into law.”
Mr McCue also acknowledges the government has established a working group to review this exact issue and look forward to seeing that progress as well, however this is an important step in the right direction and sends a strong message to our police, and other frontline workers, that we will support you through stronger penalties.
Please direct all media enquiries to NTPA Communications Officer, Kieran Banks +61 (0) 499 017 654 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Northern Territory Police Association (NTPA) is the industrial voice of all members of the Northern Territory Police Force. Read more via www.ntpa.com.au or join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NTPoliceAssociation