The Northern Territory police union has thrown its support behind tougher laws for first-time offenders who assault its members and other key workers after a surge in violence against officers.
The NT Police Association says officers are being regularly assaulted on the job and the new chief minister, Natasha Fyles, should support mandatory sentencing for all assaults on police.
"Day in, day out, our members are being subjected to violent and disgusting behaviour," president Paul McCue said on Wednesday.
"They are being targeted with violence while doing their job, a job which the vast majority of the community greatly appreciates them doing."
Mr McCue said people charged with assaulting police in the NT rarely serve jail time.
"For a person to spit at, punch, kick and attack a police officer and to walk away with a fine or suspended sentence - it doesn't meet the community's expectation," he said.
"Something must change."
Mr McCue said there had been 37 assaults on police in the NT in 37 days recently, which included officers allegedly having hair pulled out, being punched in the head, receiving a cracked rib, being spat at repeatedly, and being attacked with a steel pole.
Three officers were also assaulted in separate incidents in Alice Springs last weekend, including a police auxiliary liquor inspector who was spat on by an intoxicated male.
In the two other incidents, an officer was punched in the face and another had a jerry can thrown at them during an arrest.
Rocks were also thrown at police cars during a large community disturbance involving up to 300 people in Wadeye.
The NTPA called on the NT government to support the Country Liberal Party's Sentencing Amendment Bill 2022, which is set to be debated in parliament this week.
It introduces minimum mandatory sentences for first-time offenders who assault workers including: police, paramedics, nurses, doctors, teachers, corrections officers and hospitality workers.
"Territorians should be safe at work," opposition leader Lia Finocchiaro says.
"Spitting on, punching, kicking or biting police and territory workers should be met with a term of actual imprisonment, not a get-out-of-jail-free card."
Australian Associated Press
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