This Bill aims to make any assault on emergency workers (police officers, firefighters, paramedics and hospital staff) an aggravated offence. This means that the perpetrator has higher culpability and the crime can be punished more harshly.
Attacks on emergency workers are not uncommon, and assaults on NHS workers have been rising with 70,000 recorded attacks on hospital staff in 2016.
It is already a specific offence to attack a police officer while they are on duty, but Chris Bryant MP (who has introduced this Bill) said “that provision is far too weak and has proved ineffective in protecting officers. Prosecutions are rare, sentences are extremely lenient - and there is still no legal protection for paramedics, doctors or nurses.”
This Bill would also mean that anyone who spits at an emergency worker is forced to have a blood test to see if they pose a particular health risk.
This Bill is being introduced by Chris Bryant MP who was drawn first in the ballot for Private Members Bills.
Chris Bryant MP took the slightly unusual step of asking the public to choose from a shortlist of subjects, which Bill he should introduce. The survey was conducted online and over 33,000 votes were cast, with the subject of attacks on emergency workers proving the most popular.
It is hard to argue against this, although it is already a crime to attack anyone regardless of their profession.
How to get involved
Contact Chris Bryant MP or your own MP.
If I don’t act, will it go through?
As this came first in the Private Members’ Bill Ballot, it does have a chance of becoming law.