THE chairman of West Yorkshire’s Police Federation has branded as “a disgrace” a 20-month sentence handed to a man who threw acid into a police officer’s face.
Nick Smart spoke out after Joseph McAllister was jailed for attacking Sergeant Andrew Heald when he tried to arrest him at a Bradford garage on suspicion of stealing a van.
Mr Smart said: “The offender is already out of prison on licence for committing serious offences. He then commits more offences including throwing acid in an officer’s face and gets a mere 20 months.
“Police Officers will see this as no deterrent, and yet another example of a court letting the police down. It undermines us, and does not deter others from assaulting officers. The sentence is a disgrace.”
Bradford Crown Court heard the liquid hit Sgt Heald in the left eye and spattered into his right eye. He was treated at Bradford Royal Infirmary and needed saline to flush out his eyes.
He suffered abrasions to his retinas and his sight was affected for some time.
McAllister, who had nine previous convictions for 19 offences and was was on licence from a four-and-a-half year jail term for ramming a lorry into a building, admitted causing the officer actual bodily harm and dishonestly handling the stolen van.
A victim personal statement from Sgt Heald said he feared he had been blinded and disfigured in the worst attack he had endured since joining the police in 2004.
Insp Kevin Pickles of Bradford South Neighbourhood Policing Team, said the incident demonstrated the dangerous situations police officers put themselves in on a daily basis.
He added: “This was an assault on an officer going about his duty to protect the public and detect crime. I am pleased to say that the officer involved is recovering and is now back at work.”