A PRISON officer was knifed outside HMP Glenochil in a "targeted" attack, according to one high-ranking official.

Emergency services rushed to the scene at 7.15am last Friday morning after the SPS employee was slashed and left with serious injuries to the leg.

The officer, 51, was taken to Stirling Community Hospital and received nine stitches on the wound.

A 36-year-old male has since been arrested; however, the Advertiser was told he has yet to be charged, nor has he appeared in court.

This week, the union for prison officers has called on the justice system to protect its members.

Phil Fairlie, assistant general secretary of the The Professional Trades Union for Prison, Correctional and Secure Psychiatric Workers, said he expects the court system to deal with the matter robustly.

He told the Advertiser: "This serious assault on our colleague was, as far as we know, a random attack by someone well-known to the justice system and appears to have targeted an officer deliberately.

"While there is much that is far from normal in life at the moment, sadly, attacks on prison staff is one of the things that continue to happen, and for no reason other than the vital role they play in protecting society.

"This type of incident involving a bladed weapon...had the potential to be life-threatening and all of us are extremely grateful that the officer's situation is not worse than it is.

"We wish him well in his recovery and he will have our full support throughout the coming weeks and months, but it is crucial that the seriousness of this incident is not lost on those within the justice system who will now take charge of managing the incident from here."

Mr Fairlie, who previously served as a councillor in Clacks, added that prison officers must be protected regardless of the environment they work in.

He said: "Far too often prison staff are subjected to violence and attacks in the course of their work, and those attacks are not confined to inside the walls of our prisons.

"Courts must recognise that these kinds of attacks cannot be tolerated or played down as somehow being an inevitability of the role prison officers play in society.

"We fully expect the most robust response and sentence for criminals who seek to attack those who seek to protect the rest of society."

A Police Scotland spokesperson confirmed: "At around 7.15am on Friday, August 14, police were called to a report of a man having been assaulted outside Glenochil Prison.

"Shortly afterwards a 36-year-old male was traced by local officers and arrested in connection with the incident.

"A 51-year-old man was taken to Stirling Community Hospital for treatment to a serious leg injury and enquiries are ongoing."