More than 100 assaults on ambulance staff

Seacamb SUS-140630-175418001
Seacamb SUS-140630-175418001

AMBULANCE staff reported more than 100 physical assaults in 2013-14.

The total number of reported assaults against South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) staff was 113, two more than last year, but of these, 91 did not involve medical factors – an increase of 26 compared to 2012-13.

Nine individuals were prosecuted in the year – a number the ambulance trust is committed to increasing in future years.

“SECAmb takes any assault or threat of assault extremely seriously and encourages staff to report any incidents and agree to press charges,” a statement read.

“Where possible, SECAmb will take action, with the help of the police and Crown Prosecution Service, to prosecute those responsible.”

As recently as last weekend in Polegate, East Sussex, a SECAmb member of staff was assaulted while attending a call to a teenager suspected of being intoxicated.

The male member of staff suffered injuries including facial injuries and received treatment at Eastbourne District General Hospital.

The offender has been released on bail and is due to appear for charging in December.

Throughout the year, prosecutions included a man being given a custodial sentence of two-and-a-half years for an assault on a member of staff in Chatham in July 2013.

A woman was given a 12-month suspended sentence, community service and ordered to pay compensation for an assault on a member of staff in St Leonards, East Sussex, in November 2013, SECAmb said.

And in Surrey, a man was given a police caution for assaulting a member of staff in Woking in May 2013.

SECAmb security manager Steve Robotham said: “Just one assault against our staff is one too many and ambulance crews must never be made to feel that violence or the threat of violence is just a part of their jobs.

“We encourage staff to report and take action 
against anyone who physically attacks or verbally abuses them.

“Of course the huge majority of patients and members of the public know that this kind of behaviour is deplorable and would never think of hurting 
someone who is there to save lives and help and serve the community, but there are a very small number of individuals who seem to think this is acceptable.

“Now all our vehicles are fitted with CCTV, if an assault takes place in the ambulance, we will have better evidence to pass on to police to take forward a prosecution.

“We are committed to ensuring our staff are protected and feel able to treat patients safely and securely.”