18/12/2003

'Stop attacking emergency services' says Minister

Health Minister, Angela Smith today launched a joint Northern Ireland Ambulance Service and Northern Ireland Fire Brigade public awareness campaign designed to put a stop to attacks on Fire and Ambulance crews.

The campaign is designed to promote the idea that violence towards Emergency Service staff is unacceptable.

There have been 153 attacks on ambulance personnel and vehicles so far in 2003. This is an increase on the total of 122 attacks in 2002.

The Fire Service, meanwhile, has recorded 315 attacks in 2003 against a total of 410 for 2002.

Commenting on the campaign, the Minister said: "I hope that this campaign will shock people into understanding the full implications that attacks on emergency staff can have.

"I want it to become a talking point for people. These attacks should be viewed unanimously as unacceptable and I want them to stop immediately."

The new campaign will include television adverts – which begin today - featuring fire and ambulance crews coming to each other’s aid following attacks on them. They will also reinforce the message that in an emergency, every second is vital, with time lost due to attacks on crews putting people already in danger further at risk.

The Department is supporting the two emergency services with this, the first of three phases, by making available £400,000 for the overall campaign.

Early in the new year an education programme for primary and secondary schools will be rolled out with further initiatives to follow.

(MB)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

01 December 2020
GP's 'Working Harder Than Ever For Their Patients' - DoH
GP's, like the rest of their health service colleagues, are working harder than ever for their patients.
25 November 2020
Concerns Raised Over Sickness Absence In NI Public Sector
Public sector leaders must be empowered to address levels of sickness absence in the Northern Ireland public sector, Alliance MLA John Blair has said, following a report on attendance in central and local government.
24 November 2020
Black Taxis Should Be Supported Like Translink - SF
Belfast Black Taxis should benefit from the same financial support being offered to Translink, Sinn Féin have said The party has called for an urgent meeting between the Belfast Black Taxi Association and Minister for Infrastructure Nicola Mallon on support for the public transport service.
27 November 2020
Man Jailed For 'At Least' 22 Years For Murder Of Adrian Ismay
A 50-year-old Belfast man has been jailed for a minimum of 22 years for the 2016 murder of prison officer Adrian Ismay. Christopher Robinson was convicted of the murder of the prison officer in January this year, and received a mandatory life sentence.
26 November 2020
NI Water Announce 10-Year Plan To Plant 1 Million Trees
As Northern Ireland's second biggest landowner, NI Water has launched an ambitious 10-year plan to plant at least 1 million trees. The initiative has been undertaken as planting trees improves water quality, captures carbon, mitigate floods and enhances the natural environment.