UNISON applauds crackdown on violence against emergency workers

UNISON applauds crackdown on violence against emergency workers

Anyone who attacks emergency service workers – including ambulance staff, and other health staff – will soon be facing longer jail terms, says UNISON.

The Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill receives its Royal Assent today (Thursday) and comes into force in November.

It means the maximum sentence for assaulting an emergency worker will double from six to twelve months.

In April, UNISON and the Health Service Journal (HSJ) revealed that physical assaults on NHS staff rose by nearly 10% in England last year compared to 2015/16.

Figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request – submitted by the HSJ working on behalf of UNISON – showed that ambulance trusts saw a 14.5% increase in violent incidents, rising from 2,036 in 2015/16 to 2,330 in 2016/17.

UNISON national ambulance officer Alan Lofthouse said: “Attacks on ambulance staff are increasing, making already stressful jobs almost unbearable.

“Most people are grateful and appreciate the difficult job ambulance and other emergency staff do, but there’s a tiny minority who abuse and harass them and they should be appropriately reprimanded.

“Ambulance staff spend their working days helping the public and saving lives, and their safety should be paramount.”