MORE than 700 paramedics, police officers and firefighters were attacked while doing their jobs across Cheshire last year.

The Home Office figures show that 625 Cheshire Constabulary officers were assaulted in 2018/19 – with 148 of those incidents resulting in injury.

Of 65 incidents involving North West Ambulance Service staff, one was recorded as sexual assault and 13 when trying to restrain patients for safety reasons.

Cheshire's firefighters suffered 14 attacks last year, as well as a further three since the end of September.

Tatton MP Esther McVey, who represents Knutsford and parts of Northwich, is backing tougher sentences for perpetrators as part of a proposed police covenant.

Ms McVey met with constituents who have two sons, both of whom are police officers. They want mandatory prison sentences for anyone who attacks an officer.

As it stands anyone guilty of assaulting an emergency worker can be given a 12-month sentence – which has been increased from six months.

She said: “One attack on a public sector worker is one too many. So we must ensure that those responsible feel the full force of the law.

"Firefighters, ambulance crews and police officers threatened or attacked for doing their job must know government is committed to punishing anyone who attacks them.

"Emergency service workers put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe and we must do everything we can to protect them, including using the full force of the law by punishing people who attack them.

"Their jobs also affect their families as they understandably worry about their safety.”

Magistrates and judges can deal with offenders charged with assaulting an emergency worker with other crimes including ABH and GBH.

Most are charged with assault on an emergency worker meaning the maximum sentence is 12 months.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced his intention to establish a police covenant in July.