Spit and bite incidents against Lincolnshire Police officers have more than doubled in a year.
New figures have revealed that between April 2016 and March 2017, there were 18 incidents where officers were bitten or spat at by offenders.
But the figure for the year afterwards jumped to 39 – an increase of 116 per cent.
Lincolnshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Marc Jones, said: “It can do damage psychologically and physically to an officer.
“If they’re off work because they’re being tested for various diseases and illnesses as a result of having somebody’s spit or blood go in their mouth or eyes – it’s horrific.”
The rise came before Lincolnshire Police purchased 5,000 spit and bite guards in April 2018 to protect officers against such incidents.
The guards are used as hoods to place over an offender’s head if they become aggressive or threatening.
PCC Jones added: “Long before Lincolnshire introduced spit and bite guards, I was making the point that politically, I believed they should be rolled out across the country.
“If you can imagine going home to your family explaining what’s happened to you – putting people under that pressure if we can avoid it is utterly unbelievable.”
The figures mark the second doubling of incidents for the force in five years, with the figure between April 2015 and March 2016 standing at just eight before jumping to 18 the year after.
But PCC Jones said: “I don’t think that it’s about the number of incidents doubling but the incidents recorded being doubled.
“During that period of time we’d got the police federation encouraging its members to report those incidents through to senior police teams to try and encourage them to record them properly.”
Figures after the introduction of spit and bite guards are yet to be released.