The NSW Police Force has released body camera vision of an officer being physically and verbally assaulted following an incident in Hamilton South. This, and similar other attacks, have prompted the NSW Attorney-General to call for a review into the sentencing of police and emergency worker assaults.


What is the Offence of Assaulting a Police Officer?

Under Section 60 of the Crimes Act 1900, several offences relate to police officers executing their duty.

Under subsection (1) it is an offence for a person to assault, throw a missile at, stalk, harass or intimidate a police officer while in the execution of the officer’s duty. However, no actual bodily harm is occasioned to the officer.

What Are the Penalties For Assaulting a Police Officer?

To be convicted of an offence under section 60(1), it must be proved beyond reasonable doubt that a person:

  • Assaulted; threw a missile at; stalked; harassed or intimidated a person;
  • That person was a police officer, and
  • That officer was executing their duty at the time of the assault.

The maximum penalty for this offence is imprisonment for 5 years.

Section 60 (1A) contains an aggravated form of this offence, where the above actions are demonstrated during a public disorder.

Where the injury is sustained to a police officer, the penalties are increased. If an action or assault causes actual bodily harm to the Police Officer the maximum penalty is imprisonment for 7 years or, if it occurs during a public disorder, imprisonment for 9 years

If an action or assault causes grievous bodily harm to the Police Officer the maximum penalty is imprisonment for 12 years or, if it occurs during a public disorder, imprisonment for 14 years.


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Assaulting a Police Officer Executing Their Duties

Assaulting a police officer while executing their duties is a slightly different offence. Examples of this offence include:

  • Kicking, punching or pushing a police officer to stop them arresting you or someone you know;
  • Threatening a police officer who is arresting you or interviewing you as part of an investigation and
  • Seeking out and threatening or assaulting a police officer when they are off duty.

There are also circumstances where an offence under this section can be committed even if the officer was not on duty at the time. These circumstances are:

  • If the assault occurred as a consequence of or in retaliation for actions taken whilst the officer was in execution of their duty or
  • If the assault occurred because that person is a police officer.

Key Takeaways

Written By
Picture of James Janke
James Janke

James Janke is founding partner at Hamilton Janke Lawyers, and has more then decade of experience as a Criminal Defence Lawyer. Admitted to both the Supreme Court of New South Wales and High Court of Australia