MSP slams ‘sickening’ rise in assaults on local police officers

A “sickening” spike in the number of assaults on Angus police officers has been slammed by a local MSP.

In the last nine months, 70 police officers have been assaulted — an increase of 37.3% on the year before.

Chief Inspector David McIntosh, local area commander for Angus, revealed he has “more uniformed officers” than he did in 2015 and there was an 11.2% reduction in overall crime.

But he acknowledged an increase in domestic abuse and said this year’s “challenges” will come from crimes of violence, crimes of dishonesty, road safety and antisocial behaviour.

Although crimes of violence continued an overall downward trend, Ch Insp McIntosh highlighted a 9% rise — 55 incidents — in domestic abuse and the unwelcome spike in assaults on his personnel.

“Reports of domestic abuse have more than doubled in Angus in the last five years,” he added.

“It is important to recognise that if we get work in this area of business right, victims will continue to come forward and figures will continue to rise in the short/medium term.”

North-East region MSP Liam Kerr said he believed the increased visibility of police officers was likely to have been a factor in the overall reduction in crime.

“The police officer on the street is often the first person to a major incident, vital minutes before anyone can call the emergency services,” said Mr Kerr.

“It is sickening to think that an increasing number of criminals believe they are fair game for verbal and physical assault.”