A University of Northampton student has been sentenced after being one of the first offenders in the country to be charged with a new offence of assaulting an emergency worker.
Qubus Abdul Alaka knocked over PCSO (police community support officer) Kerry Parris with a car door over a parking dispute - a month after the new law came into effect.
The 22-year-old computing student, of Abbey Road, was fined and given a community order at Northampton Magistrates' Court yesterday (Thursday, August 22) after being found guilty last week.
Following the sentencing, PC Nick Paul told the Chronicle & Echo he was pleased the courts recognise the seriousness of this incident which left him concerned for PCSO Parris' welfare.
"PCSOs are an integral part of neighbourhood policing and they have our full support," he said.
"They are ambassadors for building trust and confidence in the community and they do some great partnership work and excellent problem solving.
"It's a shame when they get assaulted in their line of work."
The court heard PCSO Parris was overseeing the seizure of Alaka's car for causing an obstruction on Malthouse Close on December 12, 2018, when the student came out to see what was going on.
Alaka's defence lawyer told the court a friend of his had parked the car but the PCSO explained he would have to pay to get it back once it was recovered.
He decided to get into the driver's seat, but she blocked his path, so he reached past her and opened the door which struck the officer and she fell backwards - fortunately she was uninjured.
Comically the student and part-time delivery driver tried to reverse but his car was halfway onto the recovery truck and went nowhere.
PCSO Parris called for back-up and after a brief refusal to leave the vehicle, Alaka was arrested.
When asked what he thought when he heard about the incident, PC Paul said: "I was worried for the welfare of my PCSO.
"They're not there in a confrontational role, it's a community-focused role but fortunately it doesn't happen very often, but when it does, it's a real shame."
As well as obstructing a constable and not having third-party insurance, Alaka was charged with assault by beating of an emergency worker, a month after the Assaults on Emergency Workers Act 2018 came into effect on November 13.
The act was introduced to double the maximum jail time for assaulting an emergency worker in response to a rise in such attacks.
Alaka denied the assault and not having insurance but he was found guilty at the magistrates' court on August 15 - he did plead guilty to the obstruction charge though.
In his defence, Alaka's lawyer told the court he did not mean to hit the officer but is 'full of remorse' for what happened, adding that any jail time would put his university studies, accommodation and job in jeopardy.
Magistrate Boynton gave him a 12-month community order for the assault and obstruction charges, before fining him £135 and giving him six points on his licence for not having the right insurance.
Alaka was also ordered to pay £650 in costs and a £85 victim surcharge, but no compensation because PCSO Parris was not injured.