Support our lifesavers: Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill

Today (20 October) MP Chris Bryant’s Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) private members’ Bill receives its second reading in the House of Commons.
Protect the Protectors - a new Bill going through Parliament

Photo: Nigel Millard/RNLI

What is the new Bill?

The Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill is a new law to protect emergency services workers from assault in the line of duty. It will give special protection for paramedics, nurses, firefighters, police and other 999 workers who are abused, attacked or spat at while carrying out their work.

Why is this Bill important to the RNLI?

Our lifesavers show great courage when putting their lives at risk to save the lives of others and we care about their safety. This legislation will cover our crew members and lifeguards which is why it’s particularly important that we support the Bill.

Currently in The Emergency Workers (Scotland) Act 2005 it is already an offence to assault an emergency worker in Scotland, however this did not extend to our lifeguards. So we welcome the Bill which will introduce tougher sentencing for those who inflict abuse on all of our lifesavers.

Anti-social behaviour against our lifesavers

In 2016 and 2017 (up to today), there have been 94 reported incidents of anti-social behaviour against our crews and lifeguards – with 26 against crew members and 68 against lifeguards.

These incidents include physical abuse/assault, verbal aggression, inappropriate behaviour, malicious communications, predatory behaviour, discriminatory comments, nuisance or rowdy behaviour, vandalism and environmental damage.

Under the new legislation the following would become offences: malicious wounding, grievous or actual bodily harm and common assault aggravated when perpetrated against emergency services personnel.

How you can support the Bill today

Although it could take a while to become law, we believe this Bill is vital to help keep our lifesavers safe from the threat of assault.

So if you would like to support this Bill, please tweet today and over the coming months using the hashtag #ProtecttheProtectors – you can share our tweets which you can find on the main RNLI Twitter page here.