VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Vancouver police are seeing an increase in officers being spat on since the beginning of the pandemic in March, according to the department, and it’s taking steps to ensure members can decontaminate.
The latest incident happened over the weekend during an arrest at West 4th Avenue and Ash Street when an officer was spat on, twice.
“Vancouver Police officers have always had to deal with the disgusting act of being spit on while doing their duties,” VPD Sgt. Aaron Roed said.
“The number is slightly up from last year, but reflects how we continue to have to deal with this type of assault continually. With the COVID-19 pandemic around the world, it has definitely made officers more aware of the possible effect that being contaminated could have.”
He added charges of assault in these kinds of spitting cases involving officers are now being forwarded to Crown Counsel, whereas before doing so was at the officer’s discretion.
“We have seen it amongst regular people within the City of Vancouver, but we have noticed an increase of our officers being spat on while conducting their duties,” Roed said of an increase in spitting incidents.
.@VancouverPD says it has seen a jump in officers being spat on since the pandemic started. Below is the latest incident. In addition to masks, gloves and hand sanitizer — emergency shower facilities are also available for members needing to decontaminate. Details on @NEWS1130. https://t.co/C3j3KR8Q4M
— Sonia Aslam (@SoniaSAslam) June 29, 2020
“There are differences of someone just having fluid coming from their mouth in an accidental way, or if they are doing it in a way which is premeditated, or they are actively spitting at a person, or, as we as seeing an increase in, towards our officers.”
Roed said the increase in spitting incidents is concerning and more precautions are being taken.
“If someone does get spit on, we are advising them, if necessary, to seek treatment with hospitals. But we also do have emergency shower facilities back at our departments where officers can decontaminate immediately to help prevent transmission of the disease.”
The department also has masks, gloves and hand sanitizer available for officers.
Roed didn’t have an update on the status of the officer who was spat on over the weekend, but the suspect involved was arrested and taken to jail.