NHS Staff (Assaults)

Solicitor-General written question – answered on 16th October 2006.

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Photo of David Lidington David Lidington Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

To ask the Solicitor-General how many prosecutions were initiated in Northern Ireland in each of the last three years against people accused of (a) violent and (b) abusive behaviour towards NHS staff; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mike O'Brien Mike O'Brien Solicitor General, Law Officers' Department

The Public Prosecution Service does not record the employment of victims of violent or abusive behaviour and so the information is not available. I am informed that the police, who continue to prosecute in those areas of Northern Ireland which are not yet covered by the PPS, do not record such information either.

The PPS takes any attack on staff carrying out public duties seriously. The Code for Prosecutors, published by the PPS, specifically draws the attention of prosecutors to any instance

"where the offence was committed against a person serving the public, for example a doctor, nurse, member of the ambulance service, member of the fire service or a member of the police service" as an important feature of any offence.

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