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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 June 2006, 16:17 GMT 17:17 UK
Assaults on paramedics total 33
Essex ambulance crews wearing stab vests
Ambulance crews wearing stab vests which will be issued to staff
The Essex Ambulance Service (EAS) has revealed 33 of its paramedics were assaulted last year.

The figure equates to almost three per cent of the ambulance crews.

Last month the EAS spent 350,000 on stab-proof vests to help protect staff from hand guns, knives and spikes such as hypodermic needles.

The ambulance service is welcoming proposals from the government to crack down on people who attack ambulance staff either physically or verbally.

EAS director of operations Paul Leaman said: "People join the ambulance service because they want to help others. It is simply not acceptable that even one member of staff is attacked, never mind the 33.

"The vast majority of people treat our crews with respect but for the small minority who don't, these new proposals should send a very clear message that we will not tolerate their actions and we will bring the full weight of the law to bear on them.

"When our crews arrive at a job they do not expect to kicked, punched, spat at, or threatened with violence. That is not acceptable behaviour at anytime, least of all when all people are trying to do is help others."


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