Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:16 am on 20th October 2017.

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Photo of Jim Fitzpatrick Jim Fitzpatrick Labour, Poplar and Limehouse 11:16 am, 20th October 2017

My hon. Friend quotes from personal experience, and we have heard anecdotes in other contributions in the Chamber this morning that officers and hospital staff are reluctant to report incidents other than the most serious. Clearly, there seem to be barriers preventing all the assaults that appear to be taking place from being put on record. My hon. Friend makes a powerful point, and I am sure that the Minister will want to comment on it. I am also grateful to her because she gives me the opportunity to mention West Ham. Just as an aside, we need three points against Brighton this evening.

In an intervention on Stephen Crabb, I mentioned that there were no data on attacks against firefighters. Dr Paul Hampton from the Fire Brigades Union has written to me:

“You probably know that data on attacks on firefighters is not published by the Home Office for England (figures are published in Scotland by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service).”

The right hon. Gentleman indicated that there are figures for Wales, and other hon. Members have made that same point. Dr Hampton continues:

“So I think you can make the points about the lack of central government monitoring and under-reporting in the debate.”

That supports the point made by my hon. Friend Lyn Brown, and I would be grateful if the Minister commented in his winding-up speech on the absence of data on firefighter assaults in England.

Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, made this point:

“It is never acceptable for anyone to go to work and have to put up with verbal abuse or physical assault. Yet that is what fire crews are now facing on a daily basis in some areas of the United Kingdom.”

That was written 10 years ago, and sadly it is still true today.