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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Video: Campaign launched to tackle assaults on emergency services workers

FIRST PUBLISHED

Nottinghamshire Police and East Midlands Ambulance Service have united to tackle assaults to their staff and branded the incidents ‘unacceptable’.

The campaign aims to highlight the unacceptable incidents where police officers and ambulance crew have been assaulted, whilst conducting their roles throughout Nottinghamshire.

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Blue light services staff are regularly subjected to attacks including spitting, biting, verbal abuse and occasionally serious assaults.

Both organisations have released footage today from one particular incident that happened at 4am on 27 January 2019 in Talbot Street, Nottingham where a man assaulted an ambulance crew.

Technician Heath Ismay and Ambulance Care Assistant Mark Maddy were attending patient Matthew Fealey after concerned passers-by called for an ambulance.

Once in the back of the ambulance, Fealey became aggressive and attacked crew, throwing punches, kicking and pulling out Heath’s hair.

Police officers were on the scene within six-minutes following a call by the Ambulance staff asking for assistance.

Matthew Fealey, 34, from Methyr Tydfil in Wales was arrested by police officers and was charged with assault and given a 17-week prison sentence, suspended for 12-months at Nottingham Magistrates Court on 29 March 2019.

Sadly, this isn’t the only incident recently. Ambulance staff have reported 30 physical assaults between May 2018 and April 2019.

Of this figure, 16 of people have been sent to court, or given cautions and words of advice dependant on the level of the incident and wishes of the ambulance staff involved. A number of investigations are also on-going at this time.

Whilst, police officers and Police Constable Support Officers have suffered 124 assaults in the same period, between May 2018 and April 2019.

Kelvin Langford, Local Security Management Specialist, said: “Our frontline colleagues, as well as our team in our 999 control room, signed up to this job to help people, not to be assaulted, and they deserve to be treated with respect.

“This unprovoked attack is a particularly shocking incident, and as a result the CCTV is difficult to watch. Thankfully, on this occasion our ambulance crew were not badly injured and have made a full recovery.

“We are grateful that our colleagues in Nottinghamshire Police arrived quickly to arrest Fealey and we have worked closely with both them and the Crown Prosecution Service to pursue a conviction.

“Assaults on our staff are absolutely unacceptable and we take a zero tolerance approach towards anyone who verbally or physically assaults them.

“Alcohol or substance abuse is not an excuse and doesn’t wash with us or the legal system.”

Chief Inspector Chris Sullivan added: “Any assault on my colleagues in all emergency services is unacceptable. These incidents are incredibly serious.

“We, as the police, are there to support our colleagues and are working together closer than ever to ensure that this figure decreases.

“As you can see from the video footage from the ambulance, this is what staff have to go through and it’s simply not right.

“The crew on that day, handled themselves impeccably and were incredibly brave throughout the whole ordeal.

“Sadly this isn’t a one-off incident.”

Nottinghamshire Police Chief Constable Craig Guildford said: “No-one should ever be the victim of unlawful violence in any walk of life and officers, paramedics and staff are no different.

“One assault on member of any blue light service, whether that be a person working for the fire, ambulance service or police, is one too many.

“An assault of any kind should never be considered ‘part of the job’.

“Every day emergency service staff risk their lives to serve and protect the public and it’s important we support every single one of them. I am very proud and humbled by the hard work our dedicated officers and staff do under some very challenging situations.

“Any assault on our officers and staff has a huge knock-on effect not just for the communities we serve, but also to our officers and staff and the people closest to them who live with the physical and mental impact of being a victim of these offences.”

Paddy Tipping, Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner said: “Officers and paramedics regularly put thoughts of their own safety to one side to ensure the safety of members of the public and it is outrageous that all too often they are on the receiving end of physical and verbal abuse.

“This should never be considered just part of the job. We need to send a clear message to those who assault officers and staff that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated and action will be taken.”

Both organisations are encouraging people to get behind the initiative by showing their support on social media.

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