CALL FOR TOUGH ACTION FROM THE COURTS

West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) is calling on the courts to hand down the toughest possible sentences for people who attack ambulance staff.

The call comes after a high profile footballer was spared jail although he admitted assaulting two members of staff from North West Ambulance Service.

Adam Hammill, 24, who is on loan to Huddersfield Town from Wolverhampton Wanderers, was sentenced to 12 weeks imprisonment suspended for 12 months at Liverpool Magistrates Court.  He was arrested outside a bar in Liverpool on 7th October. Hammill pleaded guilty to two counts of assault.

Steve Elliker, Head of Security at WMAS, said: "Clearly we cannot comment about this case in particular, but we would like to think that the courts would take a dim view on any assault on a member of our staff.

There should be no difference between a high profile individual or any other member of the public, but clearly people will look at individuals such as Mr Hammill and see him as an ambassador for the clubs he plays for and the sport in general. We appreciate the comments from both clubs in regard to this issue and the way that they have taken the situation so seriously.

He has a responsibility to act in a manner that means people can look up to him.  What are young fans supposed to think of his actions?  In my view he has let himself, his club and society down.  Ambulance crews go to work each day to help people in their hour of need; they should not have to face any sort of verbal or physical abuse.

People have to remember that there is clear cost to assaults.  It may be that the member of staff needs to take time off work to recover from physical injuries; they may also have to deal with the psychological scars of such incidents.

For the wider community it is likely to mean that there is one fewer ambulance resource available to respond to people having cardiac arrests, strokes, heart attacks and the like, which could mean the difference between life and death.

We would urge the courts to hand down the toughest possible sentences to people who attack our staff.  We would like to see both custodial and financial penalties handed down.  If our staff were convicted of such an assault, there is every likelihood that they would lose their job.

The Festive period is only a few weeks away when we will see many more people out on the town enjoying themselves.  We certainly don’t want to stop anyone having a good time; what we would like to see is people looking after each other. 

Many groups going out have a designated driver; perhaps that same person could be the designated person who will look after their mates and keep the whole group safe from danger caused by themself or others."

OPERATIONS STATISTICS:
Missions completed since 1991: 50,563 | On average we airlift a child every four days | Road traffic collisions make up around 35% of the incidents we attend | The service airlifts on average four horse riders each week.