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 Man jailed for assaulting two police officers


​“No one has the right or authority to assault my officers or staff in the execution of their duty.” 

That’s the message from Chief Constable Jo Farrell after a man was jailed for assaulting two police officers and spitting at them, claiming he had Covid-19.

Officers were called to a hotel in Shotton Colliery on October 17 following reports that a man was threatening another guest. 

When they arrived, the officers found the man to be Sean Harris, who was also wanted for failing to appear at court.

As they attempted to arrest him, Harris began assaulting the two officers, kicking one between his legs in the groin area and kicking the other to her leg and chest, which caused her to fall backwards into a wardrobe.

The 35-year-old then tried to spit at the officers after claiming he had recently tested positive for Covid-19.

He was pepper sprayed and put into a police van, where he continued to be abusive towards the officers. He also spat all over the van, which meant it had to be taken off the road and deep cleaned.

Harris, of Gordon Terrace, Stanley, was charged with two counts of assaulting an emergency service worker and one count of criminal damage.

He admitted the offences and magistrates sitting at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court jailed him for 18 weeks.

Durham Constabulary’s Chief Constable, Jo Farrell, said: “While the very nature of policing requires officers to attend potentially dangerous situations, it is never acceptable to assume that assaults on my officers and staff should be tolerated. It is not simply ‘part of their job’ and is completely unacceptable.

“The public call upon the police to help them when they are most in need. We have a duty to protect the public, but we are all too often prevented from doing so due to violent individuals who choose to attack those who are there to help them.

“It should be remembered that police officers and staff are people, they are fathers, mothers, sons and daughters. Assaults not only have a physical impact, but a psychological effect on both the officer or staff member, and their friends, family and colleagues.”