THE public should be ‘outraged’ at the number of police officers who have been attacked during the pandemic, John Campbell has said.

Officers have been spat at hundreds of times by people using coronavirus ‘as a weapon’, the head of Thames Valley Police said.

The Chief Constable said there was a dramatic rise in the number of assaults since March, when the country first went into lockdown.

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He said he hoped the pandemic had shone a light on assaults on police officers, adding: “Too many police officers are assaulted.

“There was a 22 percent increase across the Thames Valley and too many people were using Covid as a weapon.

“The courts generally sent all those to prison.

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“As a police officer you acknowledge that you will be subject to assault and my job is to protect [but] they should be collectively outraged.”

It comes after new figures at the start of the year showed that Thames Valley Police officers had been attacked more than 1,000 times during the pandemic.

The force recorded 1,084 attacks on officers from February to November last year.

That was up from the 898 reported during the same period in 2019.

The worst month was August when there were 159 attacks.

In September, the Government announced plans to double the maximum jail term for criminals who assault emergency workers to two years.

Two years before a previous law change doubled the maximum term from six months to one year in England and Wales.

Other emergency workers like firefighters and paramedics are also included in the law change.

Frontline workers in the pandemic like NHS staff and prison officers are also considered ‘emergency workers’.