POLICE representatives have raised concerns over a "disturbing trend" of officers being deliberately coughed on or spat at in an attempt to "infect" them with coronavirus.

The Scottish Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, said the behaviour was "sickening". 

It said guidance issued by the Lord Advocate, Scotland’s top prosecutor, on the approach police should take during the crisis was a "missed opportunity" to address the issue.

David Hamilton, chair of the SPF, said: “It is sickening that people resort to this kind of malice against those that are trying to protect society. 

"This horrific conduct threatens the safety of not just our officers, but their families and colleagues too.

"The absence of specific direction from the Lord Advocate to keep such persons in custody was a missed opportunity to show that society will not tolerate such attacks on its police officers. 

"We need only look down south to see how offenders are being quickly and severely punished by the courts and we urge the Lord Advocate to match England’s stance and review his guidance.”

It comes after the Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC issued guidance to the police on individuals who are arrested and taken into custody during the crisis.