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• Nearly 10,000 reports of suspected lockdown breaches made
• Revealed: Covid-19 clusters double in NZ - here are the regions hit
• Three police officers in self-isolation after being spat on by person with symptoms of Covid-19
Three police officers are now in self-isolation after allegedly being spat on last night while arresting a 30-year-old man.
If the offender is found to have Covid-19 he could possibly face a further charge of infecting with disease, which under the Crimes Act carries a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment.
Police were called to a Silverdale property after a report of a family harm incident about 10pm.
A 30-year-old man at the address was arrested on an unrelated matter.
Police say while he was being placed in the patrol vehicle, he began lashing out with his feet, kicking the staff and vehicle.
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He then said he had Covid-19 and allegedly spat multiple times at the three attending officers, while continuing to resist the attempts to restrain him.
Immediately after this incident the three officers were placed in isolation as a precaution, while two police vehicles have been taken out of use and are being decontaminated.
This morning, the alleged offender was seen by a doctor and tested to confirm whether or not he has the virus.
Superintendent Naila Hassan, Waitematā District Commander, said the alleged offender had put the health and safety of police officers at significant risk.
"I am appalled by the reckless and dangerous actions of this man. We take this matter extremely seriously and we will not tolerate anyone who thinks it's acceptable to spit at our staff.
"Regardless of the outcome of testing, we now have three police officers in isolation, and two police vehicles currently off the streets for decontamination, instead of being out there keeping our communities safe when they are needed most.
"The officers will remain in self isolation until the result of testing is known and we are making sure they are okay."
The man has subsequently been charged with offences including assaults with intent to injure and resisting police. He appeared in the Waitākere District Court today.
Hassan said if the alleged offender is proven to have Covid-19 and has infected the officers, he could possibly face a further serious charge of infecting with disease.
"It is just not okay to behave in this manner towards our frontline staff at any time, but this is especially heightened during the current climate.
"There will be serious consequences for such actions."
NZ Police Association president Chris Cahill told NZME the offender had shown symptoms of Covid-19 and had allegedly spat in the faces of the officers.
"The real challenge for police is when people get violent or when officers have to interact with people immediately and don't have the time to put protective equipment on, and that's very concerning," Cahill said.
It comes after a Bay of Plenty supermarket worker was spat on after a confrontation with a customer refusing to abide with new Covid-19 restrictions.
The incident happened at Pak'n Save Whakatāne over the weekend, Foodstuffs NZ confirmed.
A butchery worker was spat on after the customer refused to stand behind the line at the butchery counter, said Foodstuffs NZ's head of corporate affairs, Antoinette Laird.
Laird told NZME this sort of behaviour was not tolerated at all and the offender was escorted off their premises as a result.
"Over the past few weeks we have implemented additional measures to ensure the safety of our staff, which include physical distancing in-store and it is completely unacceptable to treat our hard-working team this way."
Police have been approached for comment on the number of spitting incidents in the region over the past few days.
Last week, supermarkets nationwide introduced a range of safety measures as a way of protecting staff and customers amid the Covid-19 pandemic and the nation's alert level 4 status.
These measures included limiting the number of people inside at once, perspex screens at checkouts, hand sanitisation at the doors and masks for staff among other things.
There were also physical distancing guides at several stores.
Woman warned over supermarket behaviour
A woman has been given a warning after she verbally abused and coughed on supermarket staff in Dunedin when she was refused entry, police say.
Supermarkets have enacted changes to ensure staff safety and customer comfort during the Covid-19 alert level 4 lockdown.
Senior Sergeant Craig Dinnissen said the 32-year-old's behaviour yesterday was "unacceptable" and put other people's health at risk, as well as causing stress and anxiety.
The woman also filmed supermarket staff before leaving in a vehicle.
Dinnissen said the woman was later stopped by police on the Northern Motorway, issued with a trespass notice and given a warning for disorderly behaviour.
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- NZ Herald/Otago Daily Times