Cop's car ramming trauma revealed, union demands action
A Western Australian policeman suffered a fractured vertebrae in a late-night car-ramming incident six weeks ago, the officer's union has revealed, as it pushes for a new law to protect its members.
Constable Kaine Burgess and another officer were injured when their police car was deliberately rammed in Lake Clifton, 115km south of Perth, by the driver of a Suzuki Vitara in the early hours of January 29.
Const Burgess was initially diagnosed with a neck strain but after it didn't heal within a few days he returned to hospital and was diagnosed with fractured vertebrae.
WA Police Union Acting President Paul Gale said the 34-year-old remains on sick leave and must wear a full-body brace for another six weeks.
"He is experiencing a lot of pain, both mental and physical, and symptoms of sleep deprivation," he said on Tuesday.
Mr Gale said Const Burgess had made a "courageous decision" to share his "traumatic" story to demonstrate the dangers faced by police officers.
"Kaine went to work as a healthy young man, and today he must live with the consequences of his injuries," he said.
The union has renewed its call for the WA government to make ramming a police car a specific offence attracting a mandatory three-year prison term and 10 years if the act involved a stolen car.
Mr Gale said he would visit state parliament later in the day to reiterate the call with members of parliament and share photos of Const Burgess's injuries.
"We need 'Kaine's Law'," he said.
Police Minister Paul Papalia said it was an operational matter for Police Commissioner Col Blanch to consider and a request for such a law had not been brought to the government.
"If the commissioner believes that a law of that nature would assist, he would bring it to me and we would listen," he told reporters.
The 38-year-old male driver of the Suzuki also suffered serious injuries in the incident.