The number of ACT police assaulted while on the job hit almost record highs last year, with the ACT's chief police officer calling for the act of assaulting an officer to be made a separate criminal offence to bring Canberra in line with other states.
In 2017, 59 people were charged with assaulting an ACT police officer, slightly fewer than the record number of 62 people charged the year before.
In the first four months of this year, there have been 16 assaults on police.
If that trend continues, 2018 is set to have the highest number of assaults of police officers recorded.
In the past year, officers have been punched in the face, driven at, being bitten, spat on, or verbally abused.
During the past three years, the number of police assaults in the territory has almost tripled, with 20 offences in 2014 and 29 during 2015.
The sharp rise in officers being assaulted by members of the public has been a cause for concern for ACT chief police officer Justine Saunders.
"Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for my officers to be assaulted during the course of their duties," Ms Saunders said.
"My members are often kicked, punched, spat on and even in some instances assaulted with weapons. Last year, a hammer was thrown at one of my officers which struck him in the leg. More recently I have also seen an increase in my officers being driven at.
"This is the environment that my officers work in every day."
Assistant Commissioner Saunders has used the recent assault figures to call for a separate criminal offence for those who assault emergency workers.
"When it comes to deliberate assaults of our members we need effective deterrents which reflect community expectations and standards," she said.
"In our partner jurisdictions the offence is greater for assaulting a police officer, it is automatically recorded as a serious assault as opposed to a common assault, this is not the case here in the ACT.
"Assault on anyone is unacceptable but I do think there is a case for considering a separate offence for emergency services personnel who put themselves in harm's way every day to keep our community safe."
Those accused of assaulting a police officer are charged with common assault in the ACT, while NSW has a specific offence surrounding police assaults.
The maximum penalty for common assault in the ACT is two years in prison.
While there has been an increase in the number of officers being assaulted, the final figure may be even higher, with many assaults not being reported.
Officers who are injured as a result of being assaulted on the job are treated immediately by health providers, according to a police spokeswoman.
Support services, such as welfare teams, social workers and psychologists are also available for staff.
Specialist mental health providers are there for officers off site.
The increase in police assaults comes as a record number of Canberra paramedics have also been assaulted while on duty.
The ACT police chief said there are some exceptions to those being charged with assaulting a police officer.
"Some incidents, particularly those that have a mental health aspect, are not malicious and certainly do not warrant prosecution," she said.