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SECAmb records rise in attacks on ambulance staff in Kent

By Ed McConnell

The number of assaults on ambulance staff in Kent has increased for the fifth year in a row.

In total South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) recorded 234 attacks, 27 more than last year and a climb of 139% since 2011-12.

The total is likely to be higher as some incidents had more than one victim.

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Figures show a slight improvement in the number of people being seen in A&E in less than 4 hours. Stock picture
Figures show a slight improvement in the number of people being seen in A&E in less than 4 hours. Stock picture

The number of civil and criminal convictions also increased up from 49 to 104, according to the figures released following an FOI request by the Messenger.

Of the 74 incidents dealt with, seven had a sexual element, two saw a weapon used, 21 were influenced by drugs, alcohol or both and at least 17 of those responsible were suffering from mental health issues.

Maidstone experienced the most with 15, while six attacks were recorded in Dartford and Gravesham.

The remaining 160 cases were ongoing when the figures were released.

The trust said it was pleased the number of criminal and civil sanctions against individuals was up significantly.

Ambulance crews are attending the scene. Stock image: Secamb
Ambulance crews are attending the scene. Stock image: Secamb

Adam Graham, SECAmb security manager, said: “We encourage staff to report anyone who physically attacks or verbally abuses them. Ambulance crews must never be made to feel that violence or the threat of violence is just a part of their job.

“The huge majority of patients and members of the public know that this kind of behaviour is deplorable and would never think of hurting someone who saves lives and serves the community.

“Sadly there are a very small number of individuals who seem to think this is acceptable.

“We will always work to take action against anyone who attacks or abuses our staff.”

The increase in attacks led to SECAmb installing CCTV in ambulances in 2014.

It announced last year that staff could be issued with body-worn cameras in order to discourage potential offenders and increase the chances of sanctions.

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