Police officers had to take more than 6,000 days off work after being assaulted last year during the pandemic, according to new statistics.
A Freedom of Information request by the Scottish Conservatives found that Police Scotland officers missed 6,487 days of work as a result of being assaulted while on duty.
That is a rise of 446 - nearly 10% - on the year before.
The Scottish Conservatives have slammed the SNP for failing to keep officers safe and reiterated their pledge to double the maximum prison sentence for criminals who assault emergency workers.
Scottish Conservative Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Jamie Greene MSP, said: “The nationalist government is not doing enough to protect police officers from harm.
“The failure of the SNP to keep our emergency service heroes safe on the job is a dereliction of duty.
“We are bringing forwards proposals to prioritise officers’ safety by doubling the maximum prison sentence for criminals who assault emergency workers from 12 months to 2 years.
“The SNP must back these plans and listen to frontline officers who are fed up with the lack of support they get.”
During the pandemic, police officers had to miss nearly 6,500 days off work due to being assaulted – a rise of more than 400 on the year before. In the financial year of 2020-21, Police Scotland officers missed 6,487 days of work due to being assaulted whilst on duty. In 2019-20, the number of days missed due to assaults stood at 6,041 meaning that the number of days missed due to assaults increased by 446 in the pandemic year. (Police Scotland, Freedom of information response, 26 August 2021, Attached).
In 2020-21, there were 413 more assaults recorded on police officers than the previous year. In 2020-21, 6,942 common assaults were recorded on police officers in Scotland compared to 6,529 recorded in 2019-20. The pandemic year’s figure represents a rise of 1,064 when compared to the five year average. (Police Scotland, Q4 Performance Report 2020-21, link).
The Scottish Conservatives would double the maximum jail sentence for criminals who assault our emergency workers from 12 months to two years (Scottish Conservatives, Douglas Ross speech, 20 November 2020, link).