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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 November, 2004, 17:56 GMT
Emergency workers bill extended
Police officers
Police officers are now included in the Emergency Workers Bill
Police, fire, ambulance and hospital workers will be protected under a new bill to stop staff being attacked while on duty or in an emergency situation.

The Scottish Executive wants to extend the protection offered by its Emergency Workers Bill, which already covers prison, coastguard and RNLI staff.

If passed, the law would offer more protection to other emergency workers to ensure their safety.

Breaking the law carries a 5,000 fine, nine months imprisonment or both.

The legislation makes it a specific offence to assault, obstruct or hinder any emergency worker or anyone helping an emergency worker in an emergency situation.

'Clear message'

The Minister for Finance and Public Service Reform, Tom McCabe, spoke about the bill ahead of the second stage of its parliamentary progress on Thursday.

Mr McCabe said: "My message is clear - any attacks on emergency workers are completely unacceptable.

"That is why we are bringing forward this legislation to ensure people dealing with emergencies can go about their work without fear of attack or intimidation.

"It is important, however, that any legislation to tackle this problem is as robust and effective as it can be.

"That is why we are extending the protection offered by the bill to ensure the police, fire and ambulance workers, as well as medical staff in hospitals, are covered whenever they are on duty."

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08 Dec 03 |  Scotland

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