Suspects will be forced to undergo arbitrary blood tests if police believe they have bitten or spat on an officer under a Liberal Party policy unveiled today.
Police Minister Liza Harvey announced the policy while committing to $10.5 million IN cash incentives over four years to attract police officers to certain regional locations.
Under existing regional incentives, police are already rewarded for serving in the Pilbara and Kimberley, but other regional areas struggle to attract staff.
The new proposed measures would include a $2000 attraction payment for all regional postings, rising to $4000 for Australind, Bunbury, Esperance, Geradlton and Hopetoun.
Non-coastal locations with fully subsidised housing would offer a $4000 attraction payment plus a $6000 retention incentive.
Non-coastal locations without fully subsidised housing would offer a $7000 attraction payment plus $12,250 retention incentive.
Mrs Harvey said officers posted to regional locations worked in difficult situations, often with a limited support network of colleagues and general amenities.
“They often face additional work stress when there are delays in filling vacancies alongside them,” she said.
“That is why providing incentives to attract and retain police officers in regional areas will not only recognise the valuable service of these officers, it will also reduce the strain placed on officers in areas where hard to fill vacancies would otherwise exist.”
Under the blood test policy, members of the public suspected to bite, spit on, or “otherwise attack police officers involving the transfer of blood or bodily fluids” would be forced to undergo a blood test.
Mrs Harvey said currently police officers had to bear the burden of undergoing tests for blood borne diseases, which take some time to incubate, in a process lasting up to six months and causing untold stress on families.
She said a quicker process would be to force offenders to undergo blood tests to determine if they carried any diseases.
A senior officer would determine whether a test was necessary, with no avenue of appeal for the suspect.