A new law protecting emergency workers from assault to is to receive Royal Assent today, wherein the maximum sentence for assaulting an emergency worker will double from 6 to 12 months in prison. This covers police, prison officers, custody officers, fire service personnel, search and rescue services and paramedics.
In response to the new law, Martin Flaherty OBE, Managing Director of the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives, today made the following statement:
These are welcome initial steps but the fact remains that for each and every one of our staff who is physically, sexually or verbally assaulted each day while trying to help members of the public, almost none of the perpetrators actually end up in prison.
AACE would like to see the Ministry of Justice directing courts to be much tougher when sentencing those found guilty of assaulting and threatening our staff, prosecuting those people to the full extent of the law and actually imposing jail sentences upon them.
Until this happens we are very unlikely to see any drop in assaults on ambulance staff, regardless of the well-intentioned introduction of this new Bill.