ASSAULTS on ambulance staff have increased over the past 12 months, new figures show.

Between February 1, 2013, and January 31, 2014, there were 104 reports of physical abuse to front line crews.

The type of injuries staff have received range from cuts and bruising and sprains through to the more serious injuries such as dislocations and fractures.

Out of these 104 reported incidents, 73 have been reported to the police and in 22 cases the patient was arrested.

In cases that have resulted in a successful prosecution the sanctions have ranged from a suspended sentence, community service orders, restorative orders and fines.

There are also a number of more serious cases still awaiting a court date.

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) says it is continuing to take a zero tolerance approach to any form of abuse on its staff.