Scottish Law

Some good news for Emergency Workers in Scotland.  Here is hoping it comes down South sometime soon.

New legal powers to protect emergency workers from the threat of assault come into force in Scotland today.

The Emergency Workers (Scotland) Act 2005 makes it a specific offence to assault, obstruct or hinder someone providing an emergency service or assisting an emergency worker in an emergency situation.

Healthcare unions are now looking to Westminster to see similar powers introduced to cover staff working in the rest of Britain.

Workers covered in Scotland under the act include police, fire and ambulance staff, medical practitioners, midwives, social workers enforcing child protection orders or emergency protection authorisations, mental health officers and prison officers responding to emergency situations.

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

The maximum penalty will be nine months' imprisonment, a fine of £5,000, or both.

More serious assaults will continue to be prosecuted under existing laws.

The Scottish executive has given itself the option of adding more groups to the list in the future if necessary.

The 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.”

The Royal College of Nursing had broadly supported the Scottish executive's emergency workers (Scotland) bill, while pressing for a more inclusive approach to the protection of all healthcare workers.

Sheelagh Brewer, senior employment relations adviser of the RCN, said Tony Blair's government now needed to introduce similar legislation to protect healthcare staff working outside Scotland from violence.

“It is a first,” Ms Brewer said of the new legislation. “It is one of the things we included in our recent election manifesto to ensure there is an automatic offence for assaulting nurses.”

The last government resisted introducing legislation specifically designed to deal with crimes committed against public sector workers.

However, it has made some progress. Last year, the NHS counter fraud and security management service set up an in-house legal protection unit to support nurses and other healthcare staff to take out private prosecutions where the police or Crown Prosecution Service decides not to take a case forward.

This led to the first antisocial behaviour order being issued against a member of the public last summer, to prevent him harassing NHS staff. Norman Hutchins was barred from entering any medical centres after 47 incidents in which he caused alarm to staff in his bid to obtain gowns and surgical masks.

13 thoughts on “Scottish Law”

  1. The sad thing is that this legislation is needed at all, on two counts:A) That violent idiots are drawn to the NHS. Maybe the NHS should just refuse to treat them. Let them drown on their own vomit.

    B) That legislation covering assults on any member of society, not just medical professionals, is not tough enough. Why should the emergency services be the only ones protected by law. There is absolutely no excuse for intentionally harming another human being.

  2. Good news, it's disgraceful that someone would assault an Emergency Service Worker.I'd like the British Transport Police be given similar powers to stop assaults on us railway workers.

  3. I'd like the cretins banned from National Rail property, zero tolerence. Then you can have them remove as a trespass. Much simpler than obtaining an ASBO.You can't travel on a train on a Saturday night without drunken abusive thugs making the journey a missery (they are usually football supporters, why is it always football supporters). Well unless you travel first class, but who can afford that!

    It certainly makes me feel uneasy when travelling, and I'm a 27 year old male. Imagine how it affects an elderly or single female traveller.

  4. i find it shocking that this hasn't been done before now, what were they waiting for? if it wasn't for folks like you then half of us would be dead…it makes me really mad that all those grade a w***kers do what they do, i mean, what possesses someone to attack an emergency worker i'll never know….

    grrrrrrr!

  5. What posesses some people to totally unprovoked attack other folk?(I had my left arm broken in a totally umprovoked attack, the only saving grace was that I also broke my right metatasal with what is commonly called “a boxers fracture” as it found its way square on the first man's nose.)

    Its all shit, shit, shit, and the police dont think it serious enough to chase up.

  6. About time something was done! I got spat on whilst attending a call and all the rozzers said they could do was book her for common assault. Waste of time really.I did think though, if this had happened to one of them, the person in question would have been cuffed and bundled into the back of the van before they had a chance to say disturbing the peace.

  7. Perhaps this is another area where special constables can help? (with or without legislation)We could provide an officer to ride with ambulance staff or stick one in A&E waiting room with a large cup of tea..

    Lennie Briscoe, home

  8. I have to condemn this measure. I find it divisive and unfair, the government has a duty to keep the peace and protect all the people from unprovoked assults. I agree that it is disgraceful to assult an emergency service worker in the course of their duty, but it's just as disgraceful to assult a private individual going about their private business.Also from a punishment point of view, if stronger and tougher sentences don't work (as the Gaurdian would usually claim) surely community service, or a fine, or an offender behaviour course is more appropriate for these misguided individuals. So to be consistent the Gaurdian should be condeming this measure.

    If on the other hand, like me, you believe stronger and tougher sentences do work then you cannot welcome this, without condeming the fact that the protection (from deviant criminal evil doers) of the law is not being extended to all, but only to a class of state employees.

    If this measure works this protection should be availiable for all. If this measure does not work it should never have been enacted.

  9. My personal point of view on this, and it may well be flawed.Yes – private people should have the same protection under the law as emergency workers, the same strict sentencing, etc.

    But – It seems to been seen as 'alright' to assault emergency workers, (for example getting the fire service out and then shooting at them with pellet guns) and there seems to be a subconscious acceptance that smacking a ambulance person while drunk is somehow socially more forgivable. This law might help change that attitude.

    It's much like how magistrates and judges can (I believe) decide the strength of sentencing based on the circumstances of the crime – and to be fair it wouldn't surprise me if some judges thought that thumping an emergency services worker is somehow a 'danger of the job'.

    But yes, the law should be equally strict on all criminals.

  10. I personaly will go out of my way to ensure some one who attacked any service personelle were ” expenidently” delt with -Tbl

  11. I have to agree with you when you speak of the fire service being shot at and smacking ambulance staff while drunk.Now at the risk of going off topic (and being accused of looking back with rose tinted spectacles) these to me are both merely symptoms of a wider deeper societal problem. People know that when they call the fire and ambulance services they will get a response. The response has become the norm, if people knew that if their house was on fire they would have to put it out themselves or if they were ill they would have to sort themselves out they would never assult these crews (no matter how drunk).

    Also and more importantly they would never tolerate those amongst them who perpetrate these acts. The welfare state (and I'm not talking only about benefits, but ideas that there is no right and wrong, that whatever mistakes you make the state will help you and cushion you, that all choices are equally valid) has cushioned people from the consequences of their actions and consequently they act irresponsibly.

    The state furthermore reserves unto itself all control mechanisms so whereas it would have been that if you did something like shooting at the fire service you would at the very least have been shunned by your community now nothing happens. It is pointless an individual or group taking action against people who shoot at the fire service; report them they'll get a light sentence then come for you; beat them up and you'll get the sentence, but the state in depriving the ordinary people of natural control mechanisms coupled with the concept that there is no morality is creating a monster that will one day rage out of control and no amount of statutes will stop it.

    It is people from this category, who need these services most, as they are conditioned to rely on the state for everything, who are in the frontline of perpetrating these crimes. Would the drunk who assults ambulance crew do so if s/he knew that in doing so, if they are later assulted no ambulance crew will touch them? I don't think so.

    I haven't mentioned the police, but I feel the police are in a slightly different category. I condemn all senseless unprovoked and drunk attacks against the police, but the police as part of the job they do, know they will be in situations where adrenaline is high and some fighting will be necessary. They receive training and carry offensive weapons although the state constrains them far too tightly in their use. Nevertheless, the police should perform many functions important to society and they should never have to put up with the verbal abuse, and assults on the scale that they do.

  12. I have to agree with you when you speak of the fire service being shot at and smacking ambulance staff while drunk.Now at the risk of going off topic (and being accused of looking back with rose tinted spectacles) these to me are both merely symptoms of a wider deeper societal problem. People know that when they call the fire and ambulance services they will get a response. The response has become the norm, if people knew that if their house was on fire they would have to put it out themselves or if they were ill they would have to sort themselves out they would never assult these crews (no matter how drunk).

    Also and more importantly they would never tolerate those amongst them who perpetrate these acts. The welfare state (and I'm not talking only about benefits, but ideas that there is no right and wrong, that whatever mistakes you make the state will help you and cushion you, that all choices are equally valid) has cushioned people from the consequences of their actions and consequently they act irresponsibly.

    The state furthermore reserves unto itself all control mechanisms so whereas it would have been that if you did something like shooting at the fire service you would at the very least have been shunned by your community now nothing happens. It is pointless an individual or group taking action against people who shoot at the fire service; report them they'll get a light sentence then come for you; beat them up and you'll get the sentence, but the state in depriving the ordinary people of natural control mechanisms coupled with the concept that there is no morality is creating a monster that will one day rage out of control and no amount of statutes will stop it.

    It is people from this category, who need these services most, as they are conditioned to rely on the state for everything, who are in the frontline of perpetrating these crimes. Would the drunk who assults ambulance crew do so if s/he knew that in doing so, if they are later assulted no ambulance crew will touch them? I don't think so.

    I haven't mentioned the police, but I feel the police are in a slightly different category. I condemn all senseless unprovoked and drunk attacks against the police, but the police as part of the job they do, know they will be in situations where adrenaline is high and some fighting will be necessary. They receive training and carry offensive weapons although the state constrains them far too tightly in their use. Nevertheless, the police should perform many functions important to society and they should never have to put up with the verbal abuse, and assults on the scale that they do.

  13. My response is, Scotland leads, England should follow, RAPIDLY.The Emergency services and associated workers should be sacrosanct.

    These people respond to a call for help, whether it be Police, Fire or Ambulance, they don't care or think if the person they are going to help is a criminal, arsonist or fake medical emergency, they are out to help.

    Anybody who attacks an emergency worker should be dealt with to the full extent of the law, by attacking an emergency worker, they could cause the death of someone, therefore, a manslaughter charge should be forthcoming.

    They know full well what a blue light responder is up to, they know that if they get delayed someone could die, they should be made to stand up to their responsibility

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *