Victorian Police Commissioner Shane Patton has detailed a “shameful” and “disgraceful” incident in a bayside Melbourne suburb last night after a woman was approached for failing to wear a mask outside.
He was describing the challenges facing officers as individuals across Victoria refuse to obey the chief health officer’s COVID-19 stage four lockdown rules.
“In particularly one incident ... to highlight the type of challenges that we’re experiencing ... last night a 26-year-old policewoman was on patrol with another partner down in a Frankston area near the Bayside shopping centre,” he told reporters.
“During that time, they approached a 38-year-old woman, who wasn’t wearing a mask. After a confrontation and being assaulted by that woman, those police officers went to ground and there was a scuffle.
“And during that scuffle, this 38-year-old woman smashed the head of the policewoman several times into a concrete area on the ground. That behaviour is just totally unacceptable.
“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.”
Mr Patton said the woman was charged with “significant offences”.
“She was granted bail because she did not have a criminal history,” he said.
“It shows how things can escalate from non-adherence.
“The message is clear from me and it’s simple. We want you to stay at home. We want you to stay at home.”
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews called the conduct “shameful”. But it was one of several incidents police have been forced to deal with in recent days.
Mr Patton said that “on at least four occasions in the last week” police have been forced to “smash the windows of cars and pull people out to provide details because they weren’t adhering to the chief health officer guidelines”.
The Premier today cracked down on people who are refusing to follow the rules. He announced an on-the-spot fine of $4657 for individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are not self-isolating when members of the Australian Defence Force “randomly” knock on doors.
The fine could reach $20,000 if it is taken before the courts and found to be legitimate.
“You’ll understand why I’m not going to give people the program of doorknocking but there will be multiple doorknocks and they will be random in nature,” Mr Andrews said.
“Those doorknocks. You’re expected to be found at home.”