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.
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.”
‘I don’t care it’s not my emergency’ says Horley resident after putting note on Police car responding to emergency
Surrey police have posted a photo of the note that was left by an irate resident.
Officer were rushing to reports of a distressed resident who was potentially being beaten up and also to an address where a child was.
The officers had parked in one residents space and upon returning to the vehicle found a note on the car.
Officer spoke to the resident and explained they were responding to an emergency but the response was:
“I DON’T CARE IT’S NOT MY EMERGENCY”
Surrey police have since said:
“We apologise for our inconsiderate parking during a potentially life threatening or death situation and we will try and be more aware next time. #SorryNotSorry”
In response to the post on their Facebook page other residents have added their own comments about the note saying:
“Park on my drive any time! We should support our emergency services not insult or criticise them”
“Imagine how miserable you’d have to be to act like that.“