48 ambulance crews attacked since April
Staff punched, kicked and spat at
Forty-eight frontline staff with the North East Ambulance
Service were physically attacked in 2013, while attending incidents
where they had been called to help.
Another 119 were either threatened or verbally abused.
Incidents ranged from paramedics being kicked or punched in the
face, to being spat on.
The number of assaults is actually nine down on the previous
year, and 39 lower than in 2011.
However, the North East Ambulance Service say this year's fall
is no cause for celebration - and that ambulance crews should not
have to endure any of these types of attacks.
David Edwards, Risk Officer for NEAS, said: "While it's
encouraging that the number of assaults suffered by our frontline
crews has dropped over the last three years, it still happens far
too often for our liking.
"We have been very pro-active in recent years with the ambulance
crews, encouraging them to report any incident where they are
threatened or attacked. Historically, verbal abuse or being
physically attacked was considered by some to be one of the risks
of the job. It shouldn't be.
"Equally, we have been repeating publicly that NEAS will
not tolerate anyone who behaves this way towards our staff.
Perhaps this message is starting to get through. We will report
incidents to the police, and support them with any prosecution they
feel are suitable. Most of our ambulances now have CCTV
cameras on board, so if an assault does occur near the vehicle,
there's a good chance it will be caught on film, which helps with
any subsequent court case.
"Our ambulance crews work extremely hard doing a difficult job
in all kinds of situations. I wish to remind some members of the
public that our crews' sole objective is to help people who need
"For those members of the public that choose to ignore this and
involve themselves in criminal activity against ambulance crews,
rest assured the victim and the ambulance service will seek
"Why some people ever feel the need to become aggressive with an
ambulance crew is completely baffling."
Even if the outcome is a police caution, there are still
consequences for the perpetrator:
- A caution is recorded on the Police National
- A caution will still involve fingerprints, DNA and photograph
- It may influence how a person is dealt with, should they come
to the notice of the police again and may also be cited in court in
any subsequent proceedings.
- A simple caution will appear on a subject access request made
by the offender under the Data Protection Act 1998.
- It may also be disclosed for employment vetting purposes,
licensing purposes or to inform judicial appointments.