200,000 emergency heroes attacked in the UK in a year – but only 9% of suspects see court

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NHS staff have been assaulted (Image: Getty)

In one of the worst cases a paramedic on his knees while he treated a patient was kicked in the head. Around 50 assaults on emergency workers are prosecuted every day. But this is only a fraction of the attacks total, according to our analysis. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said almost 20,000 charges were brought under the new 2018 Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act. They included incidents of kicking, punching, head-butting, slapping and biting.

A review revealed nine in ten victims were police officers. 

But the latest NHS Staff Survey revealed that 14.5 percent of its staff – 182,000 – also say they were attacked at work in 2018, including one in five paramedics. 

Director of Public Prosecutions Max Hill QC joined police, NHS, fire and prison service chiefs last night in condemning the rocketing number of “deplorable” assaults as the Daily Express launched a Protect and Respect Frontline Heroes crusade. 

Mr Hill said: “Emergency workers provide a vital public service – the fact they endure vile abuse like spitting and even physical assault in the course of their duties is appalling and unacceptable.

Halifax explosion: Several rushed to hospital as home bursts into flames – road evacuated

Nearly a third of ambulance staff in London say they have been assaulted (Image: Getty)

“These attacks must never be considered as ‘just part of the job’.

“These are serious crimes and it is encouraging to see our prosecutors have used new legal powers to bring offenders to justice.

“Having been made aware of police concerns during the first year of this new legislation, I have met senior officers and the CPS has updated legal guidance to strengthen our approach to these appalling offences.

“We want to send a strong message that this deplorable behaviour will be met with the full force of the law.”

Emergency services chiefs are mounting a coordinated campaign to urge judges to consider new impact statements during sentencing hearings.

The seven-point plan, launched this week, urges that emergency services victims must receive the same consideration as the public in court.

Police chiefs will say: “Most importantly, it should be remembered that police officers and staff are people; they are fathers, mothers, sons and daughters. When they are attacked, they become victims just like any other, but victims who have been attacked while trying to protect others from being victimised.”

NHS security staff will tell the courts in similar letters of “far-reaching impacts on staff wellbeing”, which “disrupts other patients’ care and is a sizeable drain on precious resources”.

The plan calls for thugs who attack staff while on bail or licence to face even tougher penalties under the new 2018 Act.

Nearly a third of ambulance staff in London say they have been assaulted.

Attacks on prison staff have also reached record highs, with 10,424 instances in the year to June 2019.

Firefighters also faced an increase in the onslaught, from 622 incidents in 2015-16 to 961 last year.

Chief Constable Nick Adderley, of Northamptonshire Police, said: “An attack on any emergency service worker is an attack on the freedoms and liberties of our society.

“Public service workers do the job to help others and to ensure that social normality is at a level that is acceptable which allows people to feel healthy, safe and protected from harm.

“Those who attack emergency service workers undermine that very ethos.”

But he added: “Given the number of assaults that are reported on emergency service workers, I am concerned that the victim impact statement will simply become ‘white noise’ as there is a risk that judges
and magistrates may become desensitised to the severity of the assault due to the volume they see weekly.”

NHS Chief People Officer Prerana Issar said: “Our people are the heart of our NHS, which is why we are taking unprecedented action alongside the CPS and police to crack down on any cases where our brilliant doctors, nurses or other NHS workers face any kind of abuse at work.

“The NHS will not tolerate violence towards our staff who care for patients and work hard to save lives every day,”

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