EMAS leads the way by acting on ambulance attackers


Ambulance service EMAS took legal action against 91 per cent of people who assaulted its paramedics last year.

The organisation topped the league table for services pursuing prosecutions against those who attack staff, for the fourth time in five years.

Figures released by NHS Protect show that in 2012/13, 83 cases of violence against frontline paramedics were reported.

EMAS took action against 75 assailants, giving the service a success rate of nearly 91per cent.

“It’s a sad reflection on society that some people who we are trying to help or even bystanders at incidents think it’s alright to physically assault our staff,” said Nick Arnold who heads up EMAS’ Local Security Management Team which investigates incidents and work with the Crown Prosecution Service and the police to bring offenders to book.

“My team’s job is to make sure we track them down and take legal proceedings so they get the message loud and clear – it isn’t.”

The type of sanctions imposed on assailants can vary from anti-social behaviour orders, banning orders, tagging or, in the most extreme cases, imprisonment.

To help staff report incidents as quickly as possible, EMAS has introduced a 24/7 telephone service. And staff are reminded of the importance of letting the team know each time they either feel threatened or are subjected to violence, and not to treat this as part of the job.

Staff also report all incidents where medical equipment or the vehicle they are travelling in is purposely damaged.

Cameras have even been installed in vehicles to capture evidence and prove what happened in any given incident.

Said Nick: “We’ve been promoting our zero tolerance approach for several years now but unfortunately, some people don’t learn.”

“Alcohol or substance abuse is often put forward as an excuse for appalling behaviour but I’m afraid that doesn’t wash with us or the legal system.”

“We have a duty to protect staff and we’re doing just that.”

“I’d like to thank all EMAS staff for their willingness to help my team and the police in the investigation process. Also, a big well done to my team for their hard work. They have reason to be proud because not only have we topped the ambulance service league table but our sanctions rate is one of the best in the whole of the NHS.”