The DUP MP said, “Our emergency and blue light personnel not only provide an invaluable service to the community, but often put themselves in harms way whilst dealing with the public. Attacks on emergency workers leave those individuals fearful and often with significant injuries that impact on their ability to work. Those attacks also cause significant disruption to the service provided to the wider public.
The stark reality of working on the front-line in such services is alarming. Paramedics should not have to be considering the use of stab vests or body-worn cameras in an effort to protect themselves. However that is the reality when more than four out of five of these workers have reported that they feared for their safety or felt threatened whilst on duty.
We must send out a message to those emergency workers that demonstrates we value them and a message to anyone who might carry out such an attack that they will face the full weight of the law. One of the most effective ways we can do that is through the sentences handed down to anyone found guilty of attacking an emergency worker.
I hope this motion can play a part in focusing attention on this problem and help result in the necessary changes to offer greater protection to these vital front-line staff.”
The text of the motion is as follows;
That this House notes the ongoing and increasing incidence of attacks on police, ambulance, fire service and other personnel who deal with members of the public in life threatening circumstances; deplores all such attacks and calls upon those in judicial positions to impose sentences that will be seen to be a deterrent to such behaviour and reflect the unacceptability of such attacks on wider society; and pays tribute to all those personnel whom we owe a debt of gratitude and who should have the full protection of the law whenever needed.