More than 6000 work days have been lost to the police as a result of assaults on officers, new figures show.
A freedom of information request by the Scottish Conservatives found 6487 work days were lost as a result of attacks in 2020-21.
This is a more than seven per cent increase from 6041 in the previous year.
Police Scotland officers were tasked with dealing with new restriction during the most recent year, with a large period of 2020-21 seeing Scotland in lockdown as Covid-19 took hold.
Scottish Tory justice spokesman Jamie Greene said it was for the government to better protect officers.
“The nationalist government is not doing enough to protect police officers from harm,” he said.
“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 two years.
“The SNP must back these plans and listen to frontline officers who are fed up with the lack of support they get.”
The Scottish Tories have railed against the Scottish Government’s presumption against short sentences – which pushes for the use of other methods of punishment as opposed to jail terms of less than a year.
During this year’s election, the party said it would seek to increase the maximum sentence for attacks on emergency staff to two years, which would allow for at least some of those convicted to see prison time.
The Scottish Police Federation chairman, David Hamilton, said: “These figures show that police assaults have a financial cost, not just a human one. Police Scotland simply cannot afford to lose so many officer days and the sharp increase on last year is particularly concerning.
“But these figures fail to capture the true impact as many officers are unable to return to full operational duties for months and instead are placed on rehabilitative or restricted back office duties.
“In our recent survey, 22% of officers reported having been assaulted in the last three months, so investing in better protection for them makes good business sense as well as being the right thing to do.”
STV News is now on WhatsApp
Get all the latest news from around the countryFollow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp
Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country