Agonising wait for attacked cops amid NSW blood test farce
TWO NSW police officers face an agonising six month wait to see if they have HIV/AIDS because the state government refuses to blood test offenders who attack cops.
One of the officers was allegedly bitten by a man who had his penis exposed and was wearing a bra who then said he had AIDS and hepatitis C.
The other officer suffered injuries which drew blood during an arrest at Casino on the north coast on the weekend.
"Anywhere else in Australia the offender would be tested for diseases and pretty quickly we would know if they were infected," Police Association of NSW President Tony King said.
"But not in NSW. These two officers will now have to go on preventive medication for months and have the mental stress of waiting to know the result.
"It has enormous impact on many aspects of their lives including things such as the timing of starting a family," he said.
Police allege at 10.45pm on Saturday night in Casino they pulled over a driver of an unregistered vehicle. The 42-year-old-man from Queensland was wearing women's lingerie and had his penis out, according to police. Officers allegedly found a knife and syringes throughout the car.
When they attempted to stop him swallowing a plastic balloon he then allegedly bit a senior constable on the thigh through his jeans. He's also accused of punching and kicking the other officer who suffered cuts to his hand.
Mr King said five other states have passed legislation giving emergency service officers the power to take blood in circumstances such as what allegedly occurred at Casino on the weekend.
"What we need is the power to test the offender in order to provide some reassurance to the police and families involved.
"We have had a parliamentary inquiry into the issue, the government has the recommendations, we need them to act. We need this power now.
"These two officers and their families now face an incredibly anxious wait have to find out whether they've been infected with anything," Mr King said.
"This case, which is not that uncommon highlights exactly why we need urgent government action to address the red tape that is forcing cops to wait months to find out if they're at risk of infectious disease, he said.
NSW Minister for Police and emergency Services David Elliott said the government was aware of the problem and the concerns of police.
"The NSW Government is actively considering the proposal to introduce mandatory blood testing in NSW," he said.
"I have met with the Police Association and other relevant stakeholders.
"A decision will be made in due course."