THE constable who was hospitalised for Covid days after being spat at by a man in Bournemouth is now back on frontline policing duties

PC Joe Terry tested positive for the coronavirus a few days after the incident in Charminster Road, Bournemouth, on January 6.

Along with a colleague, he'd been arresting a man for being drunk and disorderly, when he was intentionally spat at with force.

Steven Licorish, 41, of no fixed abode, has since pleaded guilty to a charge of assault by beating of an emergency worker and is due to be sentenced next month.

Two days after the incident PC Terry developed Covid-19 symptoms, and subsequently tested positive for the virus.

It is not known if the officer caught the infection as a result of the assault, but he took many weeks to recover.

Speaking after Licorish pleaded guilty to the assaulting an emergency worker offence at Poole Magistrates Court on Tuesday, PC Terry said: "I will never know or be able to prove that I contracted Covid-19 from this incident.

"However, I am extremely angry and upset that he spat at me, exposing me to the risk of infection.

"Thankfully my family was not infected.

"It took many weeks for me to recover, but thankfully I have now returned to frontline duties.

"It is totally unacceptable to spit at someone, but to do so in the midst of a global pandemic is deplorable.”

Meanwhile, Dorset Police Chief Constable James Vaughan said: “Our officers and staff demonstrate commitment, courage and dedication on a daily basis.

"They signed up to help protect the public, not to come into work each day with the risk of being assaulted, attacked or verbally abused.

"Spitting at officers is particularly abhorrent during the public health emergency we are all facing.

"While the officers’ infection could not be directly linked to what happened, it puts into perspective the dangerous nature of policing.

“The impact such assaults can have on our officers and staff, their colleagues and their families can have serious consequences and we will do all we can to bring criminal proceedings against those responsible.”

Anna Harvey, chairman of the Dorset Police Federation, the organisation representing rank-and-file officers in the county, said: "I am pleased to see that the defendant in this case has pleaded guilty.

"This incident is a stark reminder of the horrendous incidents officers have to deal with.

"Spitting is disgusting and, added with the current Covid-19 pandemic, this has caused the officer additional trauma.

"These incidents affect not only the individual, but their families and loved ones."