Threat to our safety

By Ross Pringle

1 comment


What a sad state of affairs it is to hear of our ambulance staff coming under attack while on the job.

Theirs is a job which involves helping people: Those who are sick, have suffered injuries by way of an accident, and all too often as the result of someone else's action.

Despite a drop in reported crimes of close to 5 per cent, there is a perception that more of us are falling victim to assaults and other acts of violence. Perhaps that is down to greater ability to share details through social media and other information streams.

Either way, those charged with picking up the pieces are also increasingly finding themselves in situations where their safety is at risk or they may be attacked.

As St John Wanganui district operations manager Ian May pointed out in yesterday's story, violent situations can and do erupt all too easily when officers attend incidents, particularly where people are drunk.

While we must be thankful that there was only one reported assault on a local ambulance staff member last year, it is still unacceptable that anyone would contemplate attacking someone who is trying to help.

Being under the influence of drink or drugs is no excuse.

Consider that this is an organisation that relies heavily on community support for funding and has a solid base of volunteers to bolster the network.

Why then, would these people put themselves at risk in a situation like was experienced in downtown Wanganui in the early hours of Sunday morning?

It sounds terrifying, a siege or riot type situation involving a number of variously intoxicated people. Several of those present were hurt. Would you step into the fray to help?

Too often we hear of ambulance staff being unable to begin treatment because they must wait for police to secure an area.

That is not good enough, and a hard line must be taken on anyone who intervenes or lays a hand on any emergency service officer going about their duties.

Feedback: editor@wanganuichronicle.co.nz

- Wanganui Chronicle

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