CRIMINALS have been slammed after it was revealed police officers in Warrington were assaulted more than 330 times over the past three years.

There were 115 assaults against police officers in the town in 2016, 122 in 2017 and 97 between January and September this year, it can be revealed.

David Keane, Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner, has issued a warning to those committing the acts.

He said: “It is disgusting that some individuals have the audacity to attack serving police officers and other members of the emergency services, while they work tirelessly to keep our communities safe.

“These hard-working public servants are working longer hours under increased pressure and in difficult circumstances to protect and care for Cheshire residents – they deserve our respect and support and should not face cowardly attacks.

“I firmly believe that individuals who carry out these callous attacks should receive tougher punishments and I welcome the passing of the ‘Protect the Protectors’ Bill, which has come into force this week, and has doubled the maximum penalty for an assault on an emergency worker.

“While I hope this new legislation will act as a deterrent to those who might consider attacking a blue light worker, I will also continue to work with the acting chief constable to ensure that those who attack emergency service workers face the full force of the law and there is better protection in place for frontline officers.”

Acting chief constable Janette McCormick labelled assaults on police officers as ‘entirely unacceptable’. She added: “It is my responsibility to ensure that I do everything possible to protect members of my team and to ensure they remain fit and well in order to continue the important work that they do.

“I also have to consider the long-term impact on the psychological health and wellbeing of my officers and staff when they continually face the possibility of being assaulted while carrying out their duties.

“I am seeing an increase in officers being absent from work due to stress or mental health issues and I believe that assaults play a part in this increase.

“One of the scenarios my officers and staff regularly face is being spat at.”