Private Members Bill: Attacks on emergency service workers

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  • 'The ballot for Commons Private Members’ Bills for the 2017-19 session took place at 9am on Thursday 29 June. Labour MP Chris Bryant was drawn in first place.'


    https://www.parliament.uk/busi…members-bill-ballot-2017/


    A few days ago, Chris Bryant was asked what sort of bill he'd decided to try to introduce. He had carried out a ballot among his constituents with some options and the majority were in favour a new law making it a specific offence to attack or assault emergency staff whilst they were carrying out their duties . I believe there is already such a law covering police officers but not people like firemen, doctors and ambulance staff etc.


    I think such a law is long overdue and I hope that MPs won't oppose it on party lines or bring in any amendments to make it toothless when it comes up for debate. Thugs and yobs should get very long sentences for attacking those who are trying to help others.

  • I agree that any thug who attacks a fireman, ambulanceman, nurse etc should get a long sentence, but why does this require a new law?


    There are already laws covering assault, I don't see the need to create a specific one for these groups of people. Anyone who gets assaulted should be treated the same as anyone else, in my opinion.

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  • Whilst I wouldn't disagree with the fact that only police officers out of a variety of public service officials having a legislated 'legal protection' against assault is wrong, I also believe that 'special' legislative protection for ANY group is wrong, as it isn't really any worse for a policeman to undergo abuse, physical or verbal, than it is for any public sector worker, or member of the public, albeit, they undoubtedly have an increased risk of encountering such abuse. However, the offence, and consequences are the same, ( even if not the degree), whether or not it is committed against a public official.

    A crime is a crime, and in my opinion, irrespective of status , employment or otherwise.all 'victims' of crime should have the same legal protection and redress irrespective.

  • I understand the thinking behind the law, as emergency service workers are more likely to be victims to assault. But assault is already clearly defined in law. My problem are the enforcers of the existing laws, rather than the laws themselves.

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  • I understand the thinking behind the law, as emergency service workers are more likely to be victims to assault. But assault is already clearly defined in law. My problem are the enforcers of the existing laws, rather than the laws themselves.

    The point is, as you yourself stated, such laws already exist, and as we don't incorporate a specific imprisonment period for a particular crime, merely specify a range, with the maximum sentence rarely being imposed. We also , as you no doubt know have ridiculous mandatory life sentences for murder.....which for the most part are meaningless, as minimum terms to be served are generally quoted. However, other than ensuring very severe penalties are meted out to such crimes against public sector workers, because it is more likely to occur , but the reality is , that none public sector citizen abuse will obviously be just as painful, or serious.

    Firemen for instance are far more likely to suffer burns than people in most occupations.......but it is obviously part of the range of risks associated with the job.

    Guess what, soldiers are far more likely to be fired upon.................and that can be bloody lethal!!! ;o)

  • As society has changed and things like nurses or firefighters getting attacked has become the norm, then I guess some think this law is required. As you say Stevlin, some of these occupations are already dangerous

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  • As society has changed and things like nurses or firefighters getting attacked has become the norm, then I guess some think this law is required. As you say Stevlin, some of these occupations are already dangerous

    I'm not saying that the law is not required Horizon - I'm suggesting that the law should be applied to all and sundry. To me, I believe the severity of the abuse/harm inflicted etc should be the principal factor in determining the applied sentence. If a policeman or a non-skilled citizen of the same age say loses an eye or an arm because of a similar assault, the pain and suffering will be 'equal', and I guess the compensation will be similar.....other than for loss of future earnings, which would clearly, and rightly be different...........but the criminal who committed the crime, in my opinion at least, should receive the same length of prison sentence, ( with no minimum). The only other feature that might correctly influence the sentence would of course be the circumstances - for example who initiated the conflict........acting in self defence etc......which obviously is unlikely to be the policeman.............unless he was 'off-duty' of course.

  • I'm not saying that the law is not required Horizon - I'm suggesting that the law should be applied to all and sundry.

    Ok, misunderstood.

    To me, I believe the severity of the abuse/harm inflicted etc should be the principal factor in determining the applied sentence. If a policeman or a non-skilled citizen of the same age say loses an eye or an arm because of a similar assault, the pain and suffering will be 'equal', and I guess the compensation will be similar.....other than for loss of future earnings, which would clearly, and rightly be different...........but the criminal who committed the crime, in my opinion at least, should receive the same length of prison sentence, ( with no minimum). The only other feature that might correctly influence the sentence would of course be the circumstances - for example who initiated the conflict........acting in self defence etc......which obviously is unlikely to be the policeman.............unless he was 'off-duty' of course.

    But all this is covered by existing laws between the more minor act of common assault to ABH and GBH. I don't see a reason to have a separate law unless it was discriminatory in some factor. So, if a nurse or firefighter was seriously assaulted the punishment would be more severe than if it had happened to jo public.


    We'll see what Chris Bryant's bill says, but either way, I don't see the point of it.

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  • Ok, misunderstood.

    But all this is covered by existing laws between the more minor act of common assault to ABH and GBH. I don't see a reason to have a separate law unless it was discriminatory in some factor. So, if a nurse or firefighter was seriously assaulted the punishment would be more severe than if it had happened to jo public.


    We'll see what Chris Bryant's bill says, but either way, I don't see the point of it.

    I agree....and therefore everybody is already covered.....even those public sector employees that work in an environment in which there is a greater chance of being assaulted.......but is being assaulted in the line of duty really any worse than being assaulted without it being in the 'line of duty'?

  • I suppose one argument that could be put forward for the law is one of frequency of assault.


    Most people never get assaulted and if they do, only once or if they're very unlucky, a few times, but nurses and others can get assaulted multiple times, so perhaps that may be a reason for it. More a deterrent effect, than anything else.

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  • I suppose one argument that could be put forward for the law is one of frequency of assault.


    Most people never get assaulted and if they do, only once or if they're very unlucky, a few times, but nurses and others can get assaulted multiple times, so perhaps that may be a reason for it. More a deterrent effect, than anything else.

    Unfortunately, the 'law' itself is seemingly not much of a deterrent - and in view of the high number of serial criminals, neither is the level of sentencing nor the prison 'experience' either.... but at least when in prison, they are out of harms way so speak.

    Most people don't get murdered either..... but I don't consider that relevant. The police work in a not surprisingly frequently violent environment, (as do soldiers) - but I would agree that nurses should not have to put up with it....but having a 'separate' assault offence won't solve such assaults, as they aren't exactly premeditated are they?

    A better solution would be to have increased security on hand.......as well as stiffer sentences. The latter won't necessarily act as a deterrent.....but it will keep them otherwise occupied for longer!

  • Unfortunately, the 'law' itself is seemingly not much of a deterrent - and in view of the high number of serial criminals, neither is the level of sentencing nor the prison 'experience' either

    Agree.

    . but at least when in prison, they are out of harms way so speak.

    Agree on that too. And its given me ideas for future threads.:thumbup:

    The police work in a not surprisingly frequently violent environment, (as do soldiers) - but I would agree that nurses should not have to put up with it....but having a 'separate' assault offence won't solve such assaults, as they aren't exactly premeditated are they?

    A better solution would be to have increased security on hand.......as well as stiffer sentences. The latter won't necessarily act as a deterrent.....but it will keep them otherwise occupied for longer!

    I guess nurses, firefighters are seen as soft targets, whereas anyone stupid enough to assault a copper should know what to expect. Increased security for hospitals, I agree, but what about others like teachers and firefighters? I don't think there would be room on the fire engines for security guards.


    We'll see what Bryant's bill proposes, but I am expecting it will just duplicate existing laws and add nothing new. Be better to amend existing laws, if required, rather than create a new one.

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  • Agree.

    Agree on that too. And its given me ideas for future threads.:thumbup:

    I guess nurses, firefighters are seen as soft targets, whereas anyone stupid enough to assault a copper should know what to expect. Increased security for hospitals, I agree, but what about others like teachers and firefighters? I don't think there would be room on the fire engines for security guards.


    We'll see what Bryant's bill proposes, but I am expecting it will just duplicate existing laws and add nothing new. Be better to amend existing laws, if required, rather than create a new one.

    If application of existing laws doesn't prevent, or lessen these offences from continuing to occur, what do you think would?? A lot of it is because people have had too much to drink, but whatever the reason, higher fines, and/or longer sentences should be dished out, especially with the degree of severity in mind - but that should be applied to ALL abusers, whether or not their victims are nurses, police, firemen or even much easier targets like OAPs or physically handicapped persons.

  • I agree that drink is a major part of this, but an overall decline of standards too. Who, above a certain age would ever consider hitting a nurse, firefighter, let alone a policemen? And drink is no excuse, you can still control yourself.


    I would certainly be in favour of more severe punishments depending on the level of violence used and apply that to everyone and amend the existing laws accordingly, but I don't think a new law would be of any benefit

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  • I will create a separate thread in the future about decline of standards, but as it touches just about every subject going, not sure how to handle it yet. Your question "what do you think would?" could have so many answers, better to leave it for that thread

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