Life-saving paramedics treating patients in Lincolnshire have reported being assaulted almost 70 times in the last year alone.
East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) recorded a total of 69 cases of assault against its frontline staff in 2014-2015, resulting in 45 sanctions being issued.
The type of sanctions imposed varied from anti-social behaviour orders, banning orders, tagging and imprisonment.
The ambulance service’s swift and effective legal action against offenders has resulted in it topping an NHS league table for the sixth time in seven years for winning sanctions against people who abuse medical professionals.
Security Management Specialist at EMAS, Nick Arnold, who investigates these incidents and works with the Police and the Crown Prosecution Service to prosecute offenders, said that the service takes a “zero tolerance approach” to threatening and abusive behaviour.
He said: “It’s unbelievable that some people think it’s ok to physically assault ambulance professionals that are only there to help in medical emergencies.
“Well it isn’t ok – and it’s my team’s job to make sure we track them down and take legal action against them so they get that message loud and clear.
“Alcohol or substance abuse is often put forward as an excuse for such appalling acts but I’m afraid the legal system doesn’t work like that, and we will always push for the harshest penalties to be imposed.”
On top of assaults on staff, The Lincolnite revealed earlier this year that thieves stole potentially lifesaving equipment, a range of electronics, and fuel from ambulances in the past three years.
Items stolen included 1,000 litres of diesel, satellite navigation systems, and four Entonox cylinders from an air ambulance.
Nick Arnold added: “We have a duty to protect our staff and we’re doing just that. This includes having CCTV cameras installed on our vehicles so we have the evidence to prosecute.”
“We communicate to all staff the importance of reporting each time they either feel threatened or that they’ve been subjected to violence and not to treat this as part of the job.
“We also urge them to report all incidents where medical equipment or the vehicle they are travelling in is purposely damaged.”
To help paramedics report incidents immediately, the ambulance service has a 24/7 telephone reporting line in operation so it can take legal action as quickly as possible.