POLICE officers and staff were attacked 265 times in the first few weeks of the lockdown – including almost 90 incidents that were related to Covid-19.

The Scottish Conservatives, who obtained the data, said it was "abhorrent" key workers had suffered the assaults.

The party's justice spokesman Liam Kerr further branded the attacks "completely unacceptable".

Police Scotland revealed its officers and other staff members were subjected to 265 assaults in the period March 24 to April 30. Theses included 89 attacks classed as coronavirus-related, where officers were, for example, coughed or spat on.

Mr Kerr said: "These assaults on police officers are completely unacceptable and the SNP Government must condemn them in the strongest possible terms.

"Our emergency services have been at the forefront of the Covid response and they have jeopardised their own safety in the process.

"There can be no reason or excuse for attacking these officers who deserve nothing but our gratitude.

"The fact that 90 of these offences were Covid-related is particularly abhorrent."

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: "No-one should be the victim of abuse or violence while at work. Assaults on police officers are despicable and courts have extensive powers to deal robustly with perpetrators.

"We continue to encourage all organisations to support staff who experience violence in the workplace, including reporting incidents to the police for action to be taken."

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 stay safe, protect others 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 has made it clear that this is completely unacceptable. The Lord Advocate has also confirmed that offenders will be dealt with robustly by Scotland's prosecution service.

"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 Courts impose substantial sentences of imprisonment."