HCPC has welcomed the announcement of a consultation on new proposals to double the maximum sentence for assaulting an emergency worker to two years.  The current maximum term was doubled from six months to twelve months in 2018. The announcement, made on the 13th July, is of particular interest to HCPC, in our role as regulator of paramedics.
In 2019, more than 11,000 people were prosecuted for assaulting an emergency worker, according to the Ministry of Justice. During the Covid-19 crisis, assaults have increased and rose 24% in the four weeks to 7 June, compared with the same period last year.  As recently as last week, two paramedics were stabbed whilst attending a call out in Wolverhampton.
Paramedics, and other emergency service workers, work in extremely challenging circumstances and environments on a day to day basis. Their ability to do so can often be the difference between life and death for members of the public. It is therefore imperative that everything possible is done to ensure they are safe and secure whilst doing their jobs.
John Barwick, Chief Executive and Registrar, comments: “We welcome the announcement by the Ministry of Justice of a consultation on the sentence for assaulting an emergency worker. The coronavirus crisis has been a time of overwhelming public support for frontline healthcare workers, including paramedics, and we hope this is something which continues.
“Unfortunately, while people have shown their support, there have also been a worrying number of cases of assaults on emergency workers and more needs to be done to ensure their safety. Measures like these, which will hopefully improve the safety of paramedics and other vital frontline workers, will also have a direct impact on the safety of the general public. We look forward to seeing the results of this consultation.”