Mandatory sentencing review finds assaults against WA police officers drop by one third over four years

A REVIEW of the WA Government’s mandatory sentencing laws has found assaults against WA police officers has dropped by more than a third over the past four years.

Attorney General Michael Mischin said the report, tabled in parliament today, showed the number of assaults against police officers had decreased from 1346 to 892 since 2009.

He said there were similar reductions in the number of charges laid for assaults on other public officers.

“There has been an overall 27 per cent decrease in the number of charges of assaulting a public officer prescribed under the legislation and causing them bodily harm since the 2009 amendments,” Mr Mischin said.

“There has also been a 30 per cent reduction in the number of charges for obstructing a public officer, which may indicate that members of the public are more cautious in their dealings with police and other public officers.”

Under the legislation, adult offenders face a minimum 12 months jail for causing grievous bodily harm to police and other public officers; nine months for doing them bodily harm (in circumstances of aggravation) and six months for assault causing bodily harm.

However the laws have attracted criticism from members of the judiciary, including WA’s top judge Chief Justice Wayne Martin, and those working in the mental health sector.

One of the first people to be charged under the legislation was a 22-year-old woman suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.