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Zero-tolerance warning over coronavirus-related attacks on police; Jail warning as officers spat at and coughed on during Covid-19 crisis

By Hector MacKenzie

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Fiona Taylor, Police Scotland's Deputy Chief Constable: 'Abuse and assault is not simply part of the job...and wll not be tolerated'.
Fiona Taylor, Police Scotland's Deputy Chief Constable: 'Abuse and assault is not simply part of the job...and wll not be tolerated'.

SCORES of "coronavirus-related" attacks against police officers across the country since lockdown was imposed have prompted a no-nonsense warning.

In the wake of the sobering statistics, Police Scotland is insisting that such attacks and threats aimed at police officers and staff won't be tolerated.

Officers and support staff have a policy to encourage people to stick with physical distancing requirements to protect the NHS and save lives.

The policy is to engage with the public, explain the physical distancing requirements and encourage people to comply with the law – using enforcement only where necessary.

In an update issued today, Chief Constable Iain Livingstone has thanked Scotland's communities for the high levels of co-operation shown during "this challenging period".

But he said there have been occasions where front line policing teams and personnel from the custody suites have been subjected to abusive behaviour including threats of deliberate transmission.

In some instances, officers and staff have also been spat at or coughed on.

Between March 24 and April 18, there were over 100 crimes committed in Scotland where police officers and staff are recorded as victims.

Deputy Chief Constable Fiona Taylor said: "Police officers and staff are playing a vital role as we all make the changes and sacrifices needed to protect the NHS and save lives.

"I'd like to thank the vast majority of our communities for their co-operation and support as we all contribute to the national effort to curtail the spread of coronavirus.

"Those doing the right thing will agree these sorts of attacks on our officers and staff are outrageous and disgraceful.

"Abuse and assault is not simply part of the job for police officers and staff and will not be tolerated.

"The Chief Constable and Lord Advocate have made it clear that those engaging in this behaviour will be dealt with robustly by Scotland's police and prosecution services.

"Threatening a member of Police Scotland personnel, or any other emergency service worker, while they are carrying out their duties to keep the public safe will result in immediate arrest.

"On the occasions where such incidents have occurred we have seen a very supportive approach from sheriffs across the country and in some instances, offenders have been remanded in custody."

Police say that the figures have been obtained as a result of analysis of Police Scotland’s crime recording system using the Covid-19 search subject.

However, other incidents may have occurred where police personnel have been targeted and recorded through different channels.

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