Emergency services issue plea to public for respect during festive season


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Emergency workers in Wales have reminded the public to treat them with respect in the face of a continued rise in assaults. 

There were 1,421 assaults in the six-month period between January and June 2022, up from 1,396 in the same period last year, representing a 1.8% increase, new figures have revealed.

Assaults ranged from slapping, scratching, spitting and verbal abuse to punching, biting, kicking and head-butting. Seven incidents involved a weapon, and more than a quarter of assaults resulted in injury.

Ahead of the Christmas party season, emergency workers are appealing to the public to treat them with respect.

Roger Thomas, Chief Fire Officer at Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said: “It is disgraceful that people attack emergency service workers whilst they are working hard to protect communities and save lives and properties.

“Attacks of this nature may result in physical injury, damage to life-saving vehicles and equipment and also impacts negatively on the mental health of our staff.

“Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service takes a zero-tolerance approach to physical threats and attacks towards our staff and we are working with the police to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Jason Killens, Chief Executive of the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “The run-up to Christmas means more people are out enjoying the revelry, and with alcohol consumption comes an increase in assaults, both physical and verbal.

“There were 77 verbal attacks alone on our ambulance control room staff in the first six months of the year.

“We know it’s distressing when you’re waiting for help, but abusing our call handlers is not the answer – if anything, it could potentially delay help.

“And on the road, crews might have no choice but to leave a scene if their safety is compromised, and that’s not helpful for anyone, especially the patient.

“Emergency workers are normal human beings just trying to do a job – they’re there to help you, so give them the credit and respect they deserve.”

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