In the Record today:
Calls have been made to double the prison sentences for thugs who assault emergency workers. Criminals who attack police officers and nurses could get jailed for up to two years if the plans are backed by MSPs. Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said: “It’s shocking that so many frontline workers are assaulted while serving the people of Scotland by keeping us safe. Following the original law, the maximum sentence for assaulting an emergency worker is 12 months.
Just yesterday we heard in the Evening Express:
Scottish Tories to use party conference to attack ‘soft touch’ justice system
Fred Mackintosh QC has quickly quashed the Leader’s claims and in the process dumped on the whole conference. Oh, no I was looking forward to it!
In a series of tweets, the QC explained:
Assaults on police officers, firefighters and paramedics are rightly viewed by Sheriffs and Judges as serious offences. Just look at this recent example where a 2-year prison sentence was imposed for such an attack:
Offences under the Emergency Workers (Scotland) Act 2005 have a maximum prison sentence of 12 months, but serious assaults on emergency workers are common law offences and are prosecuted on indictment with maximum sentences of much more than that.
An assault cannot be committed accidently, recklessly or negligently. Harm has to be intended. So the 2005 Act covers more than just assaults. It also criminalises obstructing or hindering emergency workers (sections 1 and 2).
The Tory ‘plan’ focuses on assault on emergency workers. Not those who hinder or obstruct them without intending harm. This change would make no difference other than to build the narrative that @douglas4moray is ‘tough on crime’. He hopes you won’t notice the #fakelaw
For some context on the story, you might like these:
Based on a Freedom of Information request to Police Scotland published on 1st September 2020: Data collated at 07/07/2020 provides that between 23/03/2019 and 23/06/2019 there were 1702 such assaults on (all) emergency workers and 1760 in the same period in 2020. https://www.scotland.police.uk/spa-media/divfr3ej/20-1091-response.pdf The increased rate was 3.4% In England and Wales, based on a … Continue reading Percentage increase in assaults on emergency workers during pandemic 10 times higher in England and Wales→
Contrary (again) to many headlines like the one above, assaults on Scottish police officers actually fell slightly in the last year and remain much lower than in England & Wales. Thanks to a Freedom of Information request, from someone perhaps hoping for a different story, Police Scotland figures show 1 685 assaults in 2018/19 down … Continue reading Assaults on Police Officers in Scotland FALL to half that of England & Wales→
In the Guardian yesterday: In the latest available annual NHS staff survey, from last year, 14.5% of staff said they had experienced physical violence from patients, their relatives or the public. But the trade union, Unison, believes many incidents are going unreported. Its research with the Health Service Journal, based on freedom of information requests from all … Continue reading Are there fewer crime assaults against NHS Scotland staff because they’re more effective and better staffed?→
From the Herald this morning keeping you ‘informed’ and perhaps a bit more tetchy than is good for you: Firefighters have had to deal with more than 500 bonfires on Thursday, with some crews attacked as they responded to incidents. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) handled 1,193 calls from members of the public between … Continue reading Attacks on firefighters still deplorable but no worse this year→