A WOMAN was arrested for deliberately coughing and spitting at police.

The incident in Crawley happened on Sunday night, and has been part of a spate of recent incidents.

Police said 31-year-old Sarah Baldwin, of Fennel Close, Crawley, was charged with three counts of assaulting emergency service workers at Brighton Magistrates' Court.

It followed a report of a fight in Nightingale Close, Crawley, on Sunday. at

While responding to the incident, a woman is alleged to have coughed at three officers.

Baldwin was released on bail and is next listed to appear before Crawley Magistrates' Court on 6 May.

Sussex Police Federation chairman Matt Webb said there has been a rise in “appalling” coughing and spitting at officers across Sussex.

He said: “Our members are out on patrol, putting themselves at risk, so they can do their job and keep the public safe.

“Most people are adhering to the guidelines, but there is a small minority who are not, and our plea to them is to stay at home.

“There are those that ignore social distancing rules. And worse still, there are the appalling few who deliberately put our members at risk.

“Coughing at them, spitting at them, weaponising Covid-19 and threatening to pass on the virus.

“Police officers are humans – the uniform offers no protection. They are mothers, fathers, partners, sons and daughters.

“They want to go home at the end of every shift fit and healthy for their families.

“ But they are worried about the danger of Covid-19 to their loved ones and themselves. Just like every member of the public.

“So we say again, help us to help you. And please stay at home, keep yourselves and our colleagues as safe as possible and reduce the pressure on the NHS.”

Inspector Webb said examples in recent days have included police being spat at in Brighton and Crawley, and allegedly being abused by a couple having a barbecue on Hove beach, one of whom showed symptoms of coronavirus and should have been at home.

He said: “These incidents show how potentially dangerous our work can be. I would like to applaud the professionalism and dedication of all those Sussex Police officers working hard to keep people safe.

“Officers do not just fight crime, they also protect life and limb and lockdown rules are designed to do just that - protect people.

“There is no working from home for the majority of our colleagues. They are doing an excellent job.”