NEW laws are being tabled that will severely punish offenders who assault emergency service personnel in Hampshire/

Chairman of the Hampshire Police Federation John Apter has told the Daily Echo that the new legislation, named Protect the Protectors, is being brought in to bring tougher sanctions against criminals who attack police officers, firefighters or ambulance crews.

This comes after seven police officers in Hampshire were assaulted over the weekend.

The officers were bitten, spat at, headbutted and punched in separate incidents on Saturday and Sunday.

Mr Apter has labelled the attacks as “unacceptable”.

"Sadly this is the reality of policing," he added.

"Our officers face violence on a daily basis and the public needs to know this.

"Some people think that for a police officer it is part of the job, but it is not. (Because of this) it is sometimes just accepted as such."

Mr Apter has used Twitter to warn of the violence that officers face on a daily basis.

The previous weekend, February 18/19, he also revealed that 11 officers were assaulted in similar circumstances.

He added: "We are working to bring in a legislation to bring harsher sentences to those who attack any members of the emergency services.

"For far too long these people (who are attacked) feel like second class victims, and that needs to change."

The law, which has cross-party support up and down the country, is being driven by Halifax Labour MP Holly Lynch.

The news come just weeks after the announcement the Hampshire Constabulary will be equipping its offices with spit hoods - something that was heavily criticised by human rights group Amnesty International.

As reported, the group criticised the force after it agreed to buy the hoods, which it claimed could lead to loss of life in some circumstances.

But the police force said the guards will protect officers, other emergency services personnel and members of the public.

It added that the spitting of blood is increasing – putting personnel at risk of contracting blood-borne viruses, including Hepatitis C.

Saliva could also carry infection if it enters the mouth, nose, eyes or an open wound.

Since April, 126 assaults involving spitting have been recorded by Hampshire officers.

Speaking earlier this month, Mr Apter said: “I have been campaigning for some time for spit guards to be issued to all of our frontline officers. I’m pleased that the chief constable has made this decision. It will add to the work Hampshire has been doing to support officers and staff who have been the victim of assaults."

All frontline officers will receive guidance on how to safely and effectively use spit guards and if they are used the officer will be required to explain why.