Revealed: Scale of assaults on East Midlands Ambulance Service paramedics

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Stock ambulance
Paramedics at East Midlands Ambulance Service were attacked by members of the public on 69 occasions in the space of a year.

Figures compiled by NHS Protect show that in six of the last seven years, EMAS has topped a league table for taking legal action against people who assault frontline paramedics.

EMAS staff reported 69 cases of assault during 2014/15 which resulted in 45 successful sanctions being imposed - more than any other ambulance services in England.

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The type of sanctions imposed on assailants varied from anti-social behaviour orders, banning orders, tagging and imprisonment.

Nick Arnold, a security management analyst at EMAS, who investigates incidents and works with the Police and Crown Prosecution Service to punish offenders, said the service has taken a “zero tolerance” approach, which includes installing CCTV cameras in ambulances.

He said: “It’s unbelievable that some people think it is ok to physically assault ambulance professionals that are only there to help in medical emergencies.

“Well it isn’t ok – and it’s my team’s job to make sure we track them down and take legal action against them so they get that message loud and clear.”

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He added many cases of violence are caused by people under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

“We’ve taken a zero tolerance approach for several years regarding threatening and abusive behaviour but unfortunately, some people don’t learn. Alcohol or substance abuse is often put forward as an excuse for such appalling acts but I’m afraid the legal system doesn’t work like that, and we will always push for the harshest penalties to be imposed.

“We have a duty to protect our staff and we’re doing just that. This includes having CCTV cameras installed on our vehicles so we have the evidence to prosecute.

“We communicate to all staff the importance of reporting each time they either feel threatened or that they’ve been subjected to violence and not to treat this as part of the job. We also urge them to report all incidents where medical equipment or the vehicle they are travelling in is purposely damaged.”