22 December 2010
6 people have been successfully prosecuted in Dundee and 16 overall in Tayside under the Emergency Workers (Scotland) Act , in the latest available year, according to an answer to Parliamentary Question raised by Marlyn Glen MSP.
Solicitor-General Frank Mulholland told her that in 2008-09, 3 of the successful prosecutions in the city and 5 across Tayside came under Section 1(1) of the Act, which refers to assaulting or impeding certain providers of emergency services
MS. Glen was informed that a further 2 successful prosecutions in Dundee and 9 in Tayside overall came under Section 5(1) of the Act which applies only to incidents that occur “in a hospital or on land adjacent to and used wholly or mainly for the purposes of a hospital”.
1 of the successful prosecutions in the city and 2 across Tayside came under Section 2(1) of the Act, referring to assaulting or impeding certain emergency workers responding to emergency circumstances.
Ms. Glen was told that in 2009-10, 13 charges under the Act were reported to the Procurator Fiscal at Dundee, more than double the number in 2008-09 (when there were 6) and a further 5 charges were reported to other Procurators Fiscal in Tayside.
The Act makes it a specific offence to assault, obstruct or hinder someone providing an emergency service – or someone assisting an emergency worker in an emergency situation.
It covers a wide range of occupations such as police, fire and ambulance staff, doctors, nurses and midwives in hospitals.
Police, fire and ambulance workers and medical staff in hospitals are covered whenever they are on duty, as well as when they are actually dealing with emergencies.
Ms. Glen said,
“People who work in emergency services do so, often under difficult and dangerous circumstances.
“They have the right to carry on their life-saving duties without being subjected to the threat of abuse, aggression or obstruction.”