Frankston’s Bayside Shopping Centre. Picture: Josie Hayden
Frankston’s Bayside Shopping Centre. Picture: Josie Hayden

Policewoman assaulted by anti-masker

A policewoman has allegedly had her head smashed into the ground by a Melbourne woman who refused to wear a mask.

Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said the 26-year-old policewoman was on patrol with her partner when they spotted the woman without a mask at Frankston's Bayside shopping centre on Monday evening.

He said a scuffle broke out after the woman refused to comply with police before she allegedly bashed the officer's head into a concrete area on the ground.

It's alleged she also pushed the other policewoman.

The 38-year-old woman was eventually arrested and taken back to the police station where she was charged with nine offences, including two counts of assaulting an emergency worker and recklessly cause injury.

Mr Patton said she was bailed to face court at a later date due to no prior criminal history.

The policewoman was treated for concussion and significant head injuries at Frankston Hospital.

"That behaviour is just totally unacceptable," Mr Patton said.

"That's someone who thinks they're above the law. They're not wearing a mask, they're approached and asked the reason why not and then to react like that is just completely over the top.

"It's this type of irresponsible behaviour that we're going to address. It shows how things can escalate from non-adherence."

Premier Daniel Andrews labelled that sort of behaviour "fundamentally disgusting, shameful and appalling".

 

Police and ADF personnel patrol the Tan track in Melbourne. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Andrew Henshaw
Police and ADF personnel patrol the Tan track in Melbourne. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Andrew Henshaw

"Wear the mask, for heaven's sake," he said.

"This has been a very difficult year for members of Victoria Police, their courage, their professionalism is amazing, and the least we can do is follow the rules and be respectful to police."

Mr Patton said police had also been forced to smash the car windows of at least three anti-maskers within the past week and pull them out of their vehicles after they refused to comply with officers and give their details.

"In the last week, we've seen a trend, an emergence if you like, of small groups of people, but nonetheless concerning groups, who classify themselves as sovereign citizens," he said.

"We've seen them at checkpoints baiting police and not providing a name and address, people who don't think the law applies to them."

Mr Patton said police would not hesitate to issue infringements, arrest and detail people because Melburnians needed to understand there were consequences for not doing the right thing.

It comes as Victorians who breach self-isolation rules could now be hit with fines of up to $5000 under tough new measures to stop the spread of coronavirus.

 

Police arrest a woman after who refused to wear a mask at the Shrine of Remembrance on Friday. Picture: NCA NewsWire/David Crosling
Police arrest a woman after who refused to wear a mask at the Shrine of Remembrance on Friday. Picture: NCA NewsWire/David Crosling

Mr Andrews announced the new police powers on Tuesday morning as he revealed more than 800 positive cases were not found at home.

He said all had been referred to police for investigation.

He said Australian Defence Force personnel and Department of Health and Human Services teams had doorknocked more than 3000 houses, with more than one in four not home.

The Premier said the $4957 infringement was the largest on-the-spot fine in the state, and if people repeatedly breached the rules, police would not hesitate to take them to court where the maximum penalty was up to $20,000.

"If you are supposed to be at home and you are not, then you face the prospect of a fine of up to $5000," Mr Andrews said.

"If there were repeat breaches, if there were particularly selfish behaviour like going to work when you had the virus, then there is the alternative pathway of taking you to the Magistrates Court.

"We don't want it to come to that, we want people to be where they are supposed to be because that is how we will all get past this."

Police Minister Lisa Neville said dozens of Melburnians had also been caught breaching the strict 8pm curfew in its first 48 hours, including one person who decided they needed to drive across the city to buy a car.

She said another person decided to go for a drive because the were bored.

"All of those people were infringed last night, so be in no doubt, Victoria Police have the powers and the ability to enforce these directives, whatever that takes," she said.

Police issued 161 infringements in the past 24 hours to Tuesday morning, with 60 people fined for failing to wear a face covering.

 

These two women received fines from police for not wearing masks after an anti-mask protest on the forecourt of the Shrine of Remembrance. Picture: NCA NewsWire /David Crosling
These two women received fines from police for not wearing masks after an anti-mask protest on the forecourt of the Shrine of Remembrance. Picture: NCA NewsWire /David Crosling

 

Among those fined was a man at the shops in Bendigo who refused to put on a face covering because he was FaceTtiming a friend who wouldn't be able to see him properly if he wore it.

Another man, from Apollo Bay, was caught in the Macedon Ranges on his way to visit a friend in Mildura, while three men were busted breaching the curfew on their way home from a fast-food outlet in Roxburgh Park.

Police have handed out 2755 infringements - at least $4.05 million in fines - since stage three restrictions were reintroduced in metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire on July 8, including 341 for not wearing a mask.

The Premier said anything short of a massive reduction of movement across the city would continue to spread the virus.

"Anything short of a massive reduction in movement across the community will mean more virus, not less, more restrictions not less, and the other side of this will be further away than it has ever been," Mr Andrews said.

 

jack.paynter@news.com.au

Originally published as Policewoman assaulted by anti-masker



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