Police officers spat at and coughed on in coronavirus-related attacks

More than 100 police officers have been subjected to coronavirus-related attacks and threats, including being spat at and coughed on by people claiming to have the virus.

Sunday, 10th May 2020, 9:45 am
Police chiefs are warning any coronavirus-related attacks on officers will result in immediate arrest.

Police Scotland has underlined that such attacks and threats aimed at police officers and staff will not be tolerated.

Officers and staff have an important role in our communities, encouraging people to stick with physical distancing requirements to protect the NHS and save lives.

They are engaging with the public, explaining the physical distancing requirements, encouraging people to comply with the law, and using enforcement only where necessary.

Chief Constable Iain Livingstone thanked Scotland’s communities for the high levels of co-operation shown during this challenging period.

However, there have been occasions where frontline 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 more than 100 coronavirus-related crimes committed in Scotland where police officers and staff were 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.”