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Emergency workers are facing daily coronavirus related attacks, the Director of Public Prosecutions has told ITV News.
Max Hill QC said there have been dozens of reports of police, NHS workers and other frontline workers being deliberately coughed at and verbally attacked every day since the lockdown begun.
Coronavirus related crimes, where Covid-19 is used to threaten emergency and essential workers, is a worrying trend.
ITV News spoke to Amy Hall, 28, who described popping out between shifts to buy her mum flowers for mother’s day, only to be spat at in a car park.
She said her attacker called her a “virus spreader”.
In Scotland, two nurses working in critical care at the Inverclyde Royal Hospital had just been fitted for new masks when they left the hospital to discover their cars had been keyed.
In Middlesborough, another nurse finished her shift to find her rear window smashed.
In Ramsgate, Kent, paramedics started their shift one morning only to realise six ambulances had had their tyres slashed.
Despite overall crime being down during the lockdown, the number of assaults against emergency and essential workers is up at the same level as it was before the lockdown began.
Since fewer people are out on the streets now, the DPP said this level is concerning.
Attacks on essential workers are not new, but it appears the coronavirus outbreak has worsened the problem.
Max Hill QC told ITV News: “Throughout the last year, 2019, we were prosecuting 50 assaults on emergency workers per day.
“We are still seeing, in 2020, in circumstances of national lockdown, the same frequency of assaults on emergency workers.
“So I am talking about dozens of examples everyday of spitting or coughing or assaulting emergency workers everyday.”
Ruth May, the chief nursing officer for NHS England, told ITV News that she is becoming increasingly concerned about the safety of NHS employees.
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