Mandatory blood tests proposed for people who bite or spit at police and other frontline workers

by Murray Trembath

People who bite, spit at or otherwise expose police, paramedics, prison officers and other frontline workers to a risk of disease could be subject to mandatory testing.

Under proposed legislation announced on Wednesday, a senior officer from the worker's agency will carry out a risk assessment to determine whether a test should be ordered for blood borne viruses such as HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C.

Refusing to comply with a mandatory testing order will be committing an offence, with a maximum penalty of 12 months jail, an $11,000 fine, or both.

Unions representing affected members have been working with the state government on a scheme after several incidents, including a violent assault on a young police officer at Brighton-Le-Sands in April this year.

The Police Association published graphic photos of injuries sustained by the officer, who was allegedly forced to the ground, scratched, had her head bitten and hair pulled after a man charged at her when police attempted to arrest him in a Queen Street unit.

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