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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 December 2007, 17:28 GMT
Ambulance attacks 'not tolerated'
Ambulance generic
Crews 'are not there to be targets for anyone' says the trust
Figures show that ambulance crews in Cardiff and the south Wales valleys have been the victims of more than 90 attacks over the last year.

Thirty seven of them were physical assaults which ended up with crew members being injured.

The Welsh Ambulance Trust said violence and abuse towards ambulance staff would not be tolerated.

Ambulance unions said the actual figure for attacks on staff could be higher as staff do now always report them.

Crews in the south-east region of the ambulance trust were attacked 91 times between last November and October this year.

'Added burden'

Mike Cassidy, the trust's deputy chief executive, said: "Our staff are highly trained people who are there to do a job in the community.

"They're not there to be targets for anyone.

"We have a zero tolerance policy towards such incidents, whether the violence and abuse is physical or verbal, and all our staff are now equipped and trained to cope with conflict and in dealing with members of the public under stressful circumstances."

Mr Cassidy said attacks on ambulance crews were an "added burden which emergency service personnel can do without as they go about their job of helping the public".

"We can't tolerate any abuse of staff. It detracts from what we aim to provide to the wider community."

Mike Cassidy of the Welsh Ambulance Trust
Mike Cassidy said the trust has a zero tolerance policy

The figures have been released the same week two teenagers were arrested after a paramedic crew were allegedly attacked and their ambulance vandalised while answering an emergency call in the Ely area of Cardiff.

Last month in another incident in Grangetown in the city an ambulance crew was kicked and punched by a gang as they went to help an unconscious teenager.

Tony Chatfield, Unison branch secretary and a paramedic for 20 years, said many staff were so accustomed to verbal and physical assaults they at they did not always report them.

Mr Chatfield, from Bridgend, said he had been assaulted more than once.

"I have been verbally assaulted, hit, kicked, threatened with weapons, including a knife and once in Grangetown a few years ago, was sat in an ambulance when a man threw a big piece of timber through the window."

He added: żBut one attack is one attack too many.

"We just hope the new criminal legislation designed to offer better protection to front-line emergency service personnel is taken more seriously by the courts and tougher penalties are imposed."



SEE ALSO
Arrests after paramedics attacked
12 Dec 07 |  South East Wales
More arrests in ambulance attack
23 Nov 07 |  South East Wales
Ambulance crews facing violence
25 Oct 06 |  South East Wales

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