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SECAmb welcomes new law to protect emergency workers from assault

The new bill means a change in law that doubles the maximum prison sentence for common assault on an emergency worker.

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South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) has welcomed Royal Assent being received by a new Bill to protect emergency workers.

The Bill will mean a change in the law so that the maximum prison sentence for common assault will double, from six months to twelve, if the victim is an NHS worker, police and prison officer, firefighter, search and rescue volunteer or anyone who is attacked while assisting an emergency worker.

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The Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill has received cross-party support within parliament ahead of the formal approval stage today (13 October), and began as a private member’s bill introduced by Rhondda MP Chris Bryant.

Labour MP Chris Bryant, who presented the bill, said: “The growing tide of attacks on emergency workers, including ambulance workers, NHS staff, fire officers, prison officers and police, is a national scandal.

“All too often, attackers get away with little more than a slap on the wrist.

“I hope this new law will help put a stop to that attitude.”

The Bill also creates a statutory aggravating factor meaning that when a person is convicted of a range of offences including sexual assault, ABH, GBH or manslaughter, the judge must consider the fact that the offence was committed against an emergency worker as an aggravating factor, meriting an increase in the sentence within the maximum allowed for the particular offence.

SECAmb Chief Executive Daren Mochrie said:

“I welcome the fact that this Bill has received cross-party support since its introduction and it is an important step to further protect our staff and volunteers as well as staff in our partner organisations. Ambulance crews must never be made to feel that violence, or indeed even the threat of violence, is a part of the job.

“People join the ambulance service to help others. They should never face abuse or be attacked and, of course, the huge majority of patients and members of the public know that any such behaviour is deplorable and would never think of hurting someone who saves lives and serves the community.

“Sadly however, there are a very small number of individuals who seem to think this kind of behaviour is acceptable and we will always work to take appropriate action against anyone who attacks or abuses our staff.”

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Goodbye summer! Winter hours begin at West Sussex waste sites

New opening times start in October.

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From 1 October 2018, winter opening hours at all 11 Household Waste Recycling Sites (HWRSs) in West Sussex will come into effect.

The opening hours for all sites will be 9am until 4pm and times will be in place until 31 March 2019.

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There will be changes to the days some sites are open. Burgess Hill, Chichester, Worthing, and Crawley will open for six days a week during the winter months. Chichester will close on Tuesdays and Burgess Hill, Worthing, and Crawley will close on Thursdays.

Deborah Urquhart, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Environment, said:

“The changes are based around the demand for services at different times of the year.

“Reducing opening hours during the quieter winter allows us to keep sites open for longer in the summer months when demand is at its highest.”

Further information on Household Waste Recycling Sites can be found at www.recycleforwestsussex.org

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