Assaults on Scots police officers and staff grow to 20 each day

There have been about 20 assaults on police officers and staff each day in Scotland, up almost a quarter on the five-year average, according to new figures.

Police Scotland released the statistics as the chief constable pledged to support officers facing violence.

During the first quarter of 2020-21 there were 1,775 recorded assaults on officers and staff, the figures indicate.

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This is around 20 a day on average, Police Scotland said, up 7.2% year on year and 22.7% on the five-year average.

Chief Constable Iain Livingstone has pledged to provide police staff “the training and tools you need to do your job safely” and to “ensure the service responds to violence or abuse when it happens to you with the same care and compassion as we do for members of the public”.

The pledge is backed by Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC and Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf.

Mr Livingstone said: “As has been evident in recent weeks and months, policing in Scotland brings order, discipline and compassion.

“It is, then, disgraceful and deplorable when officers and staff are subjected to violence during the course of their duties.

“I have enormous concern about assaults and attacks on police officers and staff, which are disgracefully on the increase. I utterly reject any suggestion or view that they come with the job.

“This pledge outlines my commitment to reducing the impact violence has on our officers and staff, and to introducing measures to improve their safety.”

He added: “I am clear that it is the strong bond of trust and confidence forged between policing and our fellow citizens from which we obtain our authority. Your police service will always value that relationship.

“I’m grateful for the overwhelming support for policing from members of the public in recent weeks and months, and I request that the same support and co-operation continues as we work together to build and maintain our collective safety and security.”

The Lord Advocate said assaults on police officers and staff are reprehensible and the prosecution service will “take action to protect their safety”.

Mr Yousaf said he was “deeply concerned” by the figures.

“No-one should face abuse or violence while at work and the courts have extensive powers to deal robustly with those who carry out such appalling behaviour on officers and staff,” he said.