SEVERAL police officers in Scotland were coughed, sneezed and spat on by criminals trying to spread Covid-19 in the first three months of the year, it has been revealed.
At least 13 incidents happened between January and March.
The Scottish Police Federation said tougher penalties are required for individuals who deliberately try to infect officers with coronavirus.
Police Scotland described the behaviour as “utterly deplorable and unacceptable”.
The figures were reported to the Scottish Police Authority’s board meeting at the end of June.
Caroline Macnaughton, the SPF’s North Area deputy secretary, said to 1919 magazine: “It has been made clear by the chief constable of Police Scotland in his pledge that violence and abusive behaviour against police officers won’t be tolerated.
“But the courts don’t seem to have that view, and too often people convicted of such incidents don’t get the sentence they deserve.
“These statistics show the act of coughing, sneezing and spitting on officers is being used by criminals in targeted assaults.
“The act is disgusting and unpleasant and has always carried the risk of spreading infectious diseases such as hepatitis and HIV.
“However, with the pandemic, there is another new level of risk and that is something those who do it are well aware of.”