Wales politics

Emergency worker attacks law plan tops MP's survey

Chris Bryant
Image caption Chris Bryant says the Bill has support from the Police Federation and NHS trades unions

Rhondda Labour MP Chris Bryant will introduce a proposed new law to crack down on attacks on emergency workers doing their job.

The proposed Bill came top in a poll of voters - across the UK and within his constituency - from a shortlist of six.

Mr Bryant said: "I will be urging every single MP to turn up to vote for this bill to protect the protectors - it's the least they deserve."

He came top in a ballot of MPs seeking to introduce a private member's Bill.

Mr Bryant said 33,900 votes were cast in his online poll, 483 of them from his constituency, with the bill to curb assaults on emergency staff attracting 10,764 first preferences.

The next most popular choice was a bill to allow refugees' families to join them in Britain.

Image caption Objects thrown at firefighters have included bricks and fireworks

Mr Bryant said he would present the Crime (Assaults on Emergency Staff) Bill - to make attacks on emergency workers such as police, fire and ambulance crews an aggravated offence - in the Commons next week.

"It is already a specific offence to attack a police officer conducting their duties under Section 89(1) of the Police Act 1996, but that provision is far too weak and has proved ineffective in protecting officers," he said.

"Prosecutions are rare, sentences are extremely lenient - and there is still no legal protection for paramedics, doctors or nurses.

'What my poll shows is that my constituents and the country think it is high time to change the law."

In June, figures indicated attacks on south Wales firefighters had almost trebled in the past year.

Hospital staff in Wales were physically attacked more than 18,000 times at work over five years, according to figures published last December.

More on this story