James Ihaka

James Ihaka is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

St John eyeing cameras after driver attacked

St John's regional general manager says security procedures were being reviewed. Photo / File
St John's regional general manager says security procedures were being reviewed. Photo / File

St John is considering installing security cameras in its ambulances after one of its paramedics was assaulted in a staged attack.

Hamilton police were yesterday pleading for information after a female ambulance driver was waved down on Cameron Rd at 12.35am by a man apparently seeking help for another man lying on the ground next to him.

While she was helping the man on the ground, two other men joined the group, forcing the ambulance officer into the vehicle and demanding drugs.

As the vehicle was being searched for drugs, two of the men assaulted the driver, who managed to alert ambulance and police before escaping.

St John regional general manager, Eddie Jackson, said the woman was not seriously hurt, but was "very, very upset by the experience".

"St John takes very seriously the safety of its officers as well as the security of its patients and to have such a premeditated act to interrupt both the response of the vehicle and then to act in such a way I find absolutely despicable," he said.

"I'm at a bit of a loss for words to express how I feel about this particular action."

Mr Jackson said security procedures were being reviewed, and he did not discount the possibility of cameras being installed in ambulances as a result.

"It's not something that's being routinely considered but it would certainly be on the agenda to see whether that's viable."

Detective Inspector Chris Page said police were seeking the public's help to find four dark-skinned males aged about 18 or 19. The group were after illegal drugs that are not stocked in ambulances.

"These offenders have shown absolutely no respect for the service that St John provides for this community. How would they feel if that was one of their family who this ambulance was on its way to?"

Karl Andersen, the general secretary of First Union, which represents more than 1000 ambulance staff, said single-staffed ambulances were a problem that the union had been campaigning against.

He said the Government should be giving more money to St John so the ambulances could carry two crew.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a3 at 21 Aug 2014 10:39:16 Processing Time: 477ms