Two Northern Rivers police officers will have to wait six months to discover whether an offender who allegedly bit one of them and punched and kicked both has HIV/AIDS as he claimed.
In a case which the NSW Police Association says highlights the need for faster infectious disease testing of offenders, the officers allegedly pulled over a man in an unregistered vehicle at around 10.45pm last Saturday.
Police say the 42 year old man from Queensland – who was later allegedly discovered to have multiple outstanding warrants – was wearing women’s lingerie and had his penis exposed.
It is alleged that when police officers attempted to stop the man from swallowing a plastic balloon, he responded by biting a Senior Constable on the upper thigh, leaving a large wound through the officer’s jeans.
The man also allegedly punched and kicked the officers, leaving a second officer with cuts to his hand.
He then told police he ‘had AIDS’.
HIV cannot be spread via saliva alone.
Nevertheless, the President of the Police Association of NSW, Tony King, called for police to have the power to immediately test offenders who have attacked police to provide some reassurance to the police and families involved.
They do not currently have that power.
‘These two officers and their families now face an incredibly anxious wait to find out whether they’ve been infected with anything,’ Mr King said.
‘This is a horrific thing for police officers and their families to have to endure and highlights exactly why we need urgent government action to address the red tape that is forcing cops to wait months to find out if they’re at risk of infectious disease.
‘Unfortunately, incidents like this are not uncommon. Police are spat on, bitten and attacked with needles. When that happens, we’re forced to endure torturously long wait times simply because the government hasn’t bothered to fix the red tape.
‘We have had a parliamentary inquiry into the issue, the government has the recommendations, we need them to act. Five other states in Australia have the power to test offenders, NSW lags behind these states. We need this power now.’