Comment: Attacks like these cannot be tolerated

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THE attack on two 
officers outside Portobello police station is a timely reminder of the risks that these men and women take each day on our behalf.

Thankfully incidents of this kind are rare in Edinburgh and the 
Lothians, but assaults on officers are not as unusual as you might think.

Across Scotland as a whole, around 15 assaults are recorded on officers every day, meaning that a policeman or woman has a one in three chance of being attacked in any year.

So when these two officers stepped out on to the local high street in broad daylight, experience had probably taught them that they might not be quite as safe as you or I would like to think.

It is, of course, appalling that anyone, never mind police officers, could be attacked in this way in one of our communities.

There is a temptation when incidents like this happen to decry the lack of respect shown to the law in the modern age. The truth is that the vast majority of young people are respectful, thoughtful individuals who care about others. All the latest social attitudes research suggests that they are, if anything, more concerned about morals than previous generations. They are, in short, good citizens.

The problem here is with a very small number of individuals. That will not stop an incident like this causing considerable public concern.

The fact that police have already detained two people in connection with Sunday’s attack offers some reassurance.

What we must hope is that those responsible are quickly identified and taken to court where they must be dealt with appropriately. In an incident like this, that should mean a spell in custody – and not a short one.

Attacks of this kind cannot be tolerated in a civilised society. That goes double when the attack is on officers of the law.