A CALL has gone out for the toughest possible sentences for people who assault ambulance crews.
Anthony Marsh, chief executive of West Midland Ambulance Service, is writing to magistrates across the region in a bid to tackle a spiralling problem which has seen his staff kicked, punched, spat at, had a knife pointed at them, and even threatened with death.
Concern was raised earlier in the year at the mounting number of assaults, but the problem has got worse in the past six months. The number of physical assaults on staff rose by almost 30 per cent to 139. The number of verbal assaults rose by 13 per cent to 246 reported incidents.
Mr Marsh, said: “It is quite outrageous that our staff are having to put up with such violence. The board is determined that we should do everything possible to protect our staff.
“We are asking them to support us by taking the toughest possible action against people who assault staff. We know the public abhor this violence so we are hopeful that they will support this move.”
The trust’s regional security manager, Steve Elliker, said tougher sentences were urgently needed.
He added: “The penalties handed down are simply not sufficient to deter people currently. We need sentences to be a deterrent so that people think twice before they attack our staff.
“The fact that some of our staff do not report cases of violence because they do not believe that enough action will be taken against the perpetrator is a sad reflection on how they feel.
“We are working hard to change that perception but we want the courts to support us 100 per cent so that this dreadful situation can be changed for the better.”