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More than 7,000 assaults against Police Scotland staff recorded last year

More than 7,000 assaults on Police Scotland staff were recorded last year, figures reveal (Andrew Milligan/PA)
More than 7,000 assaults on Police Scotland staff were recorded last year, figures reveal (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Assaults on police are “unacceptable”, a senior officer said, as new figures showed more than 7,000 incidents of violence towards Police Scotland staff were recorded last year.

Although the number of assaults on officers in 2021/22 has fallen for the first time since 2015, overall the latest figure is still 8.6% higher than the five-year average.

Last weekend, there were four assaults on officers in Glasgow and Edinburgh, with the victims suffering a broken finger, a lacerated knee, head and facial injuries, and one being bitten while helping a man in custody.

There were 7,046 incidents of police staff being punched, kicked and bitten while at work, representing 251 fewer recorded incidents than the previous year.

The figures have been released as part of Police Scotland’s Quarter 4 Performance Report which will be presented to the Scottish Police Authority Policing and Performance Committee on June 7.

Deputy Chief Constable Fiona Taylor said violence towards police officers will not be tolerated.

She added: “Being the victim of an assault can have a long-lasting impact, both physically and mentally. Police officers and staff are no different and violence directed towards them when they’re trying to keep people safe is deplorable.

“The wider impact can also affect the communities we serve if officers need time away from police duties to recover.

“It’s not simply part of the job – it’s not acceptable and it will not be tolerated.”

Officers have been given enhanced training, with the annual refresher course being extended from one to two days as well as new techniques and de-escalation tactics.

Police will also have the opportunity to submit impact statements in court following an agreement with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.

This means the impact of violence can be heard and taken into consideration by the courts when sentencing an individual convicted of assaulting a police officer or member of staff.