Jared Backs Bill to Protect Emergency Service Workers
I was delighted to be in Parliament today to witness Rhonda MP Chris Bryant's Protect the Protectors Bill pass its final hurdle in the Commons. Thanks to cross-party support the bill will now make its way to the House of Lords for further scrutiny. The bill seeks to treat attacks on emergency workers as an aggravated offence and will be subject to heavier sentences. The bill is expected t be on the statute books by Autumn this year.
The bill comes in the wake of increasing numbers of attacks on emergency workers, with research from the GMB trade union revealing the number of violent attacks on ambulance workers in the UK increased by 34% between 2012/13 and 2016/17. It is thought that this is just the tip of the iceberg as many attacks go unreported.
In today's Report stage, new measures were added to the bill that will include sexually motivated attacks. This follows on from studies that showed sexual assaults and other sexually abusive incidents increased by 211% between 2012/13 and 2016/17. Also included in the bill is stronger measures to enforce suspects to provide blood or saliva samples to test for HIV and other illnesses.
I applaud the work done by both Chris Bryant and Holly Lynch, who have worked tirelessly in raising awareness of the issue and getting the bill through the House. Our emergency services work incredibly hard to keep us healthy, safe and secure. As budgets are cut further and further, emergency service workers are having to work under ever-increasing pressure so the least we can do is to ensure they feel protected in carrying out their vital work.