THE police and crime commissioner for Worcestershire says cough attacks and threats of coronavirus infection against frontline emergency workers will not be tolerated.

Prosecutors have said anyone making threats of coronavirus infection will face serious criminal charges following incidents of police officers, shop workers and vulnerable people being deliberately coughed at by people claiming to have the disease.

The Crown Prosecution Service said such behaviour could be classed as common assault and attacks on emergency workers were punishable by up to two years in prison.

Chief Superintendent Tom Harding uploaded a video to his Twitter account explaining that, due to an earlier incident, he would drop off masks and handheld gels to officers on the frontline.

In the video, Superintendent Tom Harding said: " I understand that the NHS need these as a priority, but I am disgusted to report that one of our custody sergeants in Worcester has been spat at by a person in custody claiming to have coronavirus.

"Clearly, this was extremely distressing for the officer, she gone home to shower and change and our thoughts are with her at this time. I certainly hope the criminal justice system deals with that as robustly as possible."

A man has been arrested after deliberately coughing in the face of a paramedic, police have said.

The ambulance service was called just before 11pm on Saturday to a man in Stroud, Gloucestershire, who was feeling unwell.

"They attended an address where another man, who was self-isolating, allegedly deliberately coughed in the face of one of the paramedics," a spokeswoman for Gloucestershire Police said.

"The man, a 43-year-old, was arrested, charged and remanded for assaulting an emergency worker by way of coughing and threatening GBH by infecting with Covid-19."

Elsewhere, an RSPCA officer trying to rescue an injured swan was abused and spat at by teenagers who told her to “have corona”.

In another incident, Darren Rafferty, aged 45, admitted to three counts of assaulting an emergency worker after claiming to have coronavirus and directing coughs at Metropolitan police officers.

West Mercia's Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said: "Assaults of any kind against police officers should never be tolerated, and reports of coronavirus related attacks on frontline emergency services staff are particularly worrying.

"The emergency services are working incredibly hard for our communities, in what is an extremely stressful time for the UK.

"Police officers and other frontline staff work hard to keep our communities safe, often at the expense of spending valuable time with their families.

"Perpetrators of these crimes not only put officers in danger but their immediate families too.”