A COUNCILLOR has condemned a shocking rise in assaults against police and firefighters.

Councillor Jim MacLeod, who is a member of the Inverclyde Police and Fire Scrutiny committee, says such attacks are unacceptable at any time but especially during the pandemic.

Firefighters, police and community wardens recently came under attack at an illegal bonfire and fireworks display in Larkfield.

There have also been a number of alleged assaults on police officers responding to calls while Mr MacLeod highlighted an incident on his own patch which saw a group of yobs rounding on officers.

Councillor MacLeod said: "The assaults reported on police officers and other emergency workers are a scandal.

"But it is even worse at a time when we are in the midst of a worldwide pandemic.

"Social distancing rules means attacks on our police and other emergency workers are not only assaults anymore, they go much further than that.

"They can lead to virus transmission."

Cllr MacLeod wants to see sheriffs meting out tough punishments on those prosecuted for such offences.

He said: "I believe the courts should be clamping down even harder on anyone charged with attacking emergency workers.

"It was shameful to see young people attack police officers near to Kelburn Business Park in my ward several weeks ago and then to see attacks on police and fire service personnel attending the bonfire in Greenock.

"I hope those involved are dealt with appropriately."

Cllr MacLeod believes it is time some parents took their responsibilities more seriously.

He said: "It raises questions about parental control by those involved.

"Thankfully the vast majority of young people are well behaved but sadly there is a small minority that let themselves and others down.

"Parental control is even more important at this time.

"Assaults on emergency workers should not be happening."