A Nottinghamshire case where officers were assaulted and repeatedly spat at is to feature as part of a documentary series highlighting the abuse that officers face on the front line.
Response constable Josh Carvell was spat at in his mouth by Omar Osman who claimed he had tested positive for coronavirus. He also kneed the officer in the ribs as he tried to arrest him in connection with public order offences.
In custody later that evening, 25-year-old Osman, of Sneinton Hollows in Sneinton, spat in the face of a detention officer, splashed water mixed with urine from the cell floor into the face of another detention officer and hit the custody sergeant around the head while spitting in his face.
He then went on to cause damage to his cell by scratching paint off and urinating all over it. When officers went to stop him, he was actively resistant and grabbed one of their trousers, ripping the pocket as he refused to let go.
During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, officers on patrol had come across Osman carrying a stick in Sneinton Road, Sneinton, at around 7.10pm on Tuesday 18 August 2020 before he quickly became aggressive and started shouting and swearing at them.
PC Carvell said: “It’s completely demoralising to be spat at and assaulted whilst trying to do your job which is essentially serving the public and working to keep everyone safe.
“At that moment, I was determined to arrest Osman, nothing was going to stop me. I was also heavily backed up by colleagues who were also being greeted with abuse.
“You’ve got to try and do your job whilst showing restraint towards someone who is committing violence towards you so it’s important not to lose your cool.
“There was also the added worry around the virus and not really knowing at that point how serious it was. Thankfully none of us contracted Covid-19.”
Osman was charged with four counts of assaulting an emergency worker, two counts of criminal damage and a section five public order offence. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 52 weeks in prison on 21 August 2020.
The incident will feature on Channel 5 tonight as part of the Police Code Zero series which aims to explore the rising number of brutal physical assaults on UK.
The increase in assaults is something that has been repeatedly challenged in Nottinghamshire, not just towards police but also fellow emergency service colleagues.
Over the last few months both locally and nationally there has been an increase in attacks on emergency workers, with police in particular seeing incidents on a weekly basis.
Concerns have been echoed nationally with attacks on police officers topping 100 a day, and work is now being done to understand why this significant increase is happening in order to work out how to counter it.
Chief Constable Craig Guildford, who also features on the programme tonight, said: “It’s appalling to hear about incidents where key workers have been subjected to abuse and violence as they carry out their work on the front line.
“These are people who work tirelessly to serve and protect the public and are carrying out vital duties to investigate crimes, support people with acute mental health concerns and keep our communities safe from harm.
“We have repeatedly stressed that this is not just part of the job and any assault on emergency workers – physical or verbal – will be treated as a crime and dealt with accordingly.
“All emergency service workers have the right to go about their duties without being assaulted. Together with our partners, we have made it clear that this type of behaviour won’t be tolerated.”
In April 2020, key workers from across Nottinghamshire came together to launch a video plea to the public following a spate of over 60 incidents where frontline workers had been deliberately coughed on or spat at while on the frontline of dealing with the Coronavirus outbreak.
The campaign has received support from the NHS, Nottinghamshire Police, Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, East Midlands Ambulance Service, the Ministry of Justice, a number of the county’s local authorities and other bodies.
The video itself features key workers talking about their essential work, as well as telling the story of the mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters behind the uniform and shedding light on the effects that the assaults have had on their loved ones.