FRONTLINE workers across Scotland experience almost 60 attacks every day, figures have shown. NHS workers suffer the most, being the victims of 31 assaults a day, according to the data. Meanwhile, police officers experience an average of 18 attacks every day, with a total of 6657 such incidents in 2022-23.

The figures, revealed after analysis by the justice and social affairs magazine 1919, came as the publication reported how a female police officer left the force after being involved in an incident which resulted in a man being jailed for 12 years for the attempted murder of one officer and assaults on two others in a knife attack.

David Threadgold, chairman of the Scottish Police Federation (SPF), said it had been an “extremely traumatic” incident, adding it was a “miracle that no-one was more seriously injured”.

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He said: “The references in this case to one of my colleagues having to leave the service as a result of this incident show we should never underestimate the impact on mental as well as physical health.”

The SPF, which represents rank and file officers, will continue to press the force to “ensure that we have adequate provision in place for all police officers who become injured doing their duty”, he added.

Threadgold said: “As can be seen from this case, we occasionally deal with people who have no regard for their actions, the safety of either themselves or those they come into contact with, and we have to deal with the consequences.

“We must continue to demand the best protection we can for those doing their duty; anything less is failing those we charge with carrying out the most vital work in keeping our communities safe.”

As well as the attacks on NHS staff and police, 1919 cited Scottish Government figures showing there had been more than 500 convictions under the Protection of Workers Act, which created a specific offence of assaulting, threatening or abusing those working in retail.

In the 11 months to November 2023, there were 2233 alleged incidents recorded under the legislation – the equivalent of roughly seven a day. There were also 279 assaults on prison officers in 2023, up from 178 the previous year.

Prison officers suffered an average of 0.8 assaults a day, and paramedics 0.9. With rail workers the victim of 0.3 attacks a day, as well as the 0.2 attacks a day on firefighters, 1919 calculated there was an average of 58.2 attacks a day on frontline workers.

Scottish Conservative health spokesperson Dr Sandesh Gulhane said: “These figures are appalling. My NHS colleagues are already working under challenging conditions. They do not deserve to be subjected to violent attacks at work.”

Scottish Grocers’ Federation chief executive Dr Pete Cheema said they were being “overwhelmed by the shocking rise in retail crime in recent years”. He added: “These figures are only the tip of the iceberg, as thousands of cases of shop theft, abuse and vandalism go unreported.”

Labour MSP Daniel Johnson, who introduced the Protection of Workers Bill at Holyrood, said: “Retail crime in Scotland is reaching crisis point and retail staff are bearing the brunt.”

Community Safety Minister Siobhian Brown said the Scottish Government “recognises the significant disruption and harm to businesses and individuals from retail crime”.

She added: “We recognise the vital role that retail workers play in our society and we want to ensure that they are protected. Workers across all sectors should be safe and should never have to experience abuse or violence when simply doing their job.”