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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 May, 2005, 23:44 GMT 00:44 UK
Emergency workers get protection
Police officers
Police officers are included in the Emergency Workers Bill
New legislation to protect emergency workers from assaults has become law.

The Emergency Workers (Scotland) Act makes it a specific offence to assault, obstruct or hinder someone providing an emergency service.

Police, fire and ambulance workers and medical staff in hospitals are covered whenever they are on duty, as well as when they are dealing with emergencies.

The maximum penalty under the act is nine months in jail, a fine of 5,000 or both.

More serious assaults will continue to be prosecuted under common law.

The act will also protect coastguards, lifeboat crews, social workers enforcing child protection orders, mental health officers and prison officers responding to emergency situations.

There is a provision for an order-making power so that ministers can add more groups if necessary.

Minister for Finance and Public Service Reform Tom McCabe said: "People who deal with emergencies provide an invaluable service to our society.

"We believe they should be able to go about their work without fear of attack or intimidation and that is why we brought forward this legislation."




SEE ALSO:
Emergency workers protection move
23 Mar 04 |  Scotland
Drive to protect emergency staff
15 Jan 04 |  Scotland
'Gonnae no' plea over NHS attacks
19 Dec 03 |  Scotland
New laws 'should protect nurses'
08 Dec 03 |  Scotland


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