A woman shopping in Wilko allegedly bit a police officer after he confronted her for not wearing a mask.
Merseyside Police said they are looking into the incident, which saw an officer left with hand injuries after the woman allegedly bit him.
The force said officers approached the woman in the Wilko store in Earlestown, St Helens, after noticing she wasn’t wearing a face mask – contravening coronavirus rules – at 1.35pm on Tuesday, January 2.
But after challenging her, they said she “refused to supply details or any exemption, and reportedly bit the male officer, resulting in them receiving hand injuries”.
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The incident happened just days before the Metropolitan Police in London said they would no longer reason with people who refuse to wear masks without a good reason.
Condemning the incident in St Helens – where the COVID infection rate is still close to 500 cases per 100,000 – Community Policing Chief Inspector Paul Holden said: “Our police officers and staff work tirelessly, carefully protecting themselves and those we serve, in order to keep all our communities safe.
“To see colleagues assaulted or threatened when carrying out these vital duties is absolutely sickening.
“We’re here to keep those essential shop workers and follow customers safe from people who flagrantly ignore and abuse the rules."
He added: “I’d continue to ask everyone to please consider their own safety and that of their loved ones. These laws apply to all of us, and the infection rates remain high in St Helens, so it’s more important than ever that we all adhere to them.
“There are reasons to be hopeful, and to believe these frustrating times will look brighter soon. Progress is being made with vaccinations but we still need to do everything we can to protect our communities, the NHS and our own frontline staff.
"We’ll not hesitate to keep taking action when we believe people are flouting the rules.”
A 46-year-old woman from Ashton-in-Makerfield was arrested on suspicion of assaulting an emergency worker and breaching COVID requirements and has been released under investigation pending further enquiries.
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