Every year, hundreds of police officers are subject to vile attacks that expose them to bodily fluid, like being stabbed with used syringes, or being intentionally covered in a violent offender’s blood.
These are incredibly violent, disturbing and traumatic incidents that often cause physical and psychological injuries.
While the risk of transmission of a communicable disease is in most cases very low, these incidents still require police officers to undergo months of testing to ensure they have not contracted any diseases as a result of the exposure. During this time officers often suffer considerable anxiety, fear, and potential side effects from preventative medication.
For many years, police around Australia have called on their Governments to protect them, and require the offender to be tested and disclose the result to the treating medical practitioner of the affected police officer.
While the results of the offender would not conclusively determine the risk to the officer, it is relevant information for the risk assessment carried out by their treating medical practitioners, and also can give some respite to the fear that officers suffer while they await their own test results.
Years of advocacy by the PANSW finally resulted in mandatory disease testing passing through Parliament.
Mandatory Disease Testing of persons who deliberately expose emergency services workers to bodily fluid is now law in NSW.
You can view the Act here.
The disruption of COVID-19 has meant the testing procedures are not yet available, but will be implemented soon. The PANSW will continue to monitor this and ensure progress is not delayed unnecessarily.
Below are the advocacy efforts of the PANSW on this issue, and public submissions can be accessed by clicking the links below:
Transcript of hearing before the Standing Committee on Law and Justice: Inquiry into the Mandatory Disease Testing Bill 2020.
Submission to the Standing Committee on Law and Justice: Inquiry into the Mandatory Disease Testing Bill 2020.
PANSW “Back the Blue” 2019 NSW State Pre-election Campaign
Submission in response to the NSW Department of Justice Discussion Paper: Mandatory Disease Testing (not Published)
Transcript of hearing before the Legislative Assembly Committee on Law and Safety: Inquiry into violence against emergency services personnel.
Submission to the Legislative Assembly Committee on Law and Safety: Inquiry into violence against emergency services personnel.