EMERGENCY workers are being assaulted more often, shock new figures have revealed.
Statistics from the Home Office show South Yorkshire Police recorded 858 assaults on emergency workers in the year to March, many of which were in Barnsley.
Most of the alleged victims were police constables - with 565 assaults without injury on PCs last year and 241 with injury.
The remaining 52 were on other emergency workers.
Since the Assaults on Emergency Workers Bill came into law in 2018, the maximum prison sentence for common assault on an emergency worker has been 12 months.
The offence applies to attacks on ‘blue light’ workers such as the police, paramedics and firefighters.
Last year, 819 emergency worker assault investigations concluded with just 64 per cent resulting in a charge or summons.
This is down from 69 per cent the previous year.
PTSD 999, a support organisation for all emergency services, said stronger sentences for offenders would protect both the public and those facing assaults.
Gary Hayes, co founder of the group, said: “Assaults on emergency service workers can be traumatising but not necessarily at the time of the event, the effects on the individual may present itself days, weeks, months or years later.
“There is no time scale as to how and when someone may start to struggle with an assault.”
Steve Hartshorn, national chairman of the organisation, added: “Crime levels rose once Covid restrictions were lifted and a split-second act of violence, whether an injury is sustained or not, often leaves devastating and long-term effects on police officers.
“The physical and mental scars of these assaults can last a lifetime and are unacceptable.
“Assaults on emergency workers are a stain on society and many of these assaults which are recorded without an injury would have been vile spitting and coughing attacks.”