Individuals Spat Or Coughed At - 765/20

Date Responded 02 June 2020

Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')

As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of access to information held at the time of a request, by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.

You asked:

I would like to know how many offences have been recorded where an individual was spat or coughed at, during the following three periods of time?

  1. Monday 25th March 2019 - Sunday 19th May 2019 2. Monday 27th January 2020 - Sunday 22nd March 2020 3. Monday 23rd March 2020 - Sunday 17th May 2020

If possible, please break down the data to include following details (if you are unable to provide any of the following due to time or cost constraints please proceed with whatever information you can provide.)

- The date and location of the assault.

- Whether the victim was a police officer or emergency services worker.

- Whether also included in the attack was a ‘direct threat’ of Covid-19 (this is obviously only relevant in the second two time periods.)

- Whether there was an arrest and charge and if so, the age and sex of the person(s) involved.

In Response:

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the Corporate Development Department of Northumbria Police.  I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police.

I am able to disclose the located information to you as follows.

Extensive searches were made of recording systems to extract a response to this submission.  Data was included where 'spit' had been used as a weapon or the method/means contained 'saliva', the MO was then searched for the keywords 'cough', 'coughed', 'spit', 'spits', 'saliva', 'Covid19', 'Covid 19', 'Corona' and 'virus'.  Only those incidents where coughing or spitting is mentioned in the MO have been included.

The 'Special event' flag was also used as that is now used to flag incidents relating to Covid19, this has been available since 28/03/2020 and as such only relates to the third date range requested.

The crimes of Assault by beating on a constable and Assault by beating of an emergency worker to identify those emergency workers who had been assaulted.

Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete it is important to note that these data have been extracted from a number of data sources used by forces for police purposes.  The detail collected to respond specifically to your request is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system.  The figures provided therefore are our best interpretation of relevance of data to your request, but you should be aware that the collation of figures for ad hoc requests may have limitations and this should be taken into account when those data are used.

If you decide to write an article / use the enclosed data we would ask you to take into consideration the factors highlighted in this document so as to not mislead members of the public or official bodies, or misrepresent the relevance of the whole or any part of this disclosed material.

With all the above note please see the attached which offers a response to your request.

Individuals Spat Or Coughed At - 765/20

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