An MSP has called for tougher sentences for those who attack emergency workers after the attempted murder of a female police officer in Kilwinning last month.

Five ambulance staff were also attacked in Ayr whilst on duty.

West Scotland MSP and Shadow Justice Secretary Jamie Greene has called on the Scottish Government to double the length of sentences for those convicted for assaulting emergency service workers.

He said: “Assaults against emergency service workers are unacceptable under all circumstances and regrettably in across much of the West there are too many instances of assault taking place on a regular basis.

“Doubling the maximum sentence will help serve as a deterrent and is among the range of measures, including body-worn cameras, that should be considered by the Scottish Government in order to tackle this issue.

“Emergency service workers have our backs and play a vital role in our community – it is only right that the law is enhanced to return the favour and further protect them too.”

Under the Emergency workers Act 2005 it is a criminal offence to impede or assault people who provide emergency services including police officers, members of the fire/ambulance service, NHS staff and prison officers, with the threat of imprisonment for up to 12 months, a fine of up to £10,000 or both.

Jamie Greene believes that this doesn’t go far enough and that those on the frontline need greater protection, including through longer sentencing.

Crime statistics recently published showed there were 7,519 attacks on emergency workers in 2019-20, about 450 more (six per cent) than the previous year and 16 per cent more than a decade ago.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “While overall levels of violent crime have fallen significantly in Scotland over the last decade, no-one should be the victim of abuse or violence at work, and assaults on emergency workers are unacceptable.”

“In addition to common law of assault powers, the Emergency Workers Act, which this Government extended to cover more workers, is also available. The average custodial sentence for offences prosecuted under the Act in 2018-19 was 12 per cent higher than a decade before.”