Ambulance workers in the UK have been subjected to hundreds of violent attacks during the coronavirus pandemic including an increase in sexual assaults, new figures have revealed.
A Sky News investigation found more than 1,600 physical assaults against ambulance staff were recorded between January and July as the country battled the Covid-19 crisis - the equivalent of more than seven attacks every day.
At least 149 sexual assaults on ambulance workers have taken place so far this year, as well as a rise in vandal attacks on ambulances and more than 2,000 verbal abuse incidents against crews, according to data released under the Freedom of Information Act.
Many of the incidents involved weapons including firearms, knives, baseball bats, razor blades and a stun gun, ambulance trusts revealed.
A law introduced in 2018 has seen the maximum sentence for common assault on paramedics, police officers, firefighters and prison officers increase from six months to 12.