Attacks on emergency services in the North East condemned during the arrest of a teenager


Attacks on emergency services are on the rise across the region amid fears that more frontline workers will face abuse as school holidays begin.

The Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS), Northumbria Police and the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) said they have seen an increase in attacks on their crews over the past year. While those responsible are a small minority, firefighters have said the damage they can cause can be catastrophic to the blue light response in the area.

It was reported that firefighters were attacked more than 100 times while responding to incidents over the past year – a 30% increase on the previous year.

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Paramedics and medical staff are said to have suffered 192 attacks and 370 other incidents of verbal abuse while responding to those most in need. This includes incidents of physical violence, sexual abuse as well as patients and members of the public who attack crews.

Now blue light leaders have come together ahead of summer vacation and called on parents to have candid conversations with their children to prevent further attacks.

In a recent incident, a group of teenagers gathered outside the Farringdon Community fire station in Sunderland on July 11. The fire department said the group threw bricks at the building and its crews.

TWFRS confirmed that no one was injured, but the gates to the station, which also houses the neighborhood police team, were damaged and a police cruiser was also smashed. Northumbria Police are investigating and a 17-year-old boy has been arrested and released under investigation.

Fire Chief Chris Lowther said: ‘As the summer school holidays approach, we have seen an increase in attacks on crews and this needs to stop. The situations that rescue workers have put themselves in to keep our communities safe are unbelievable and it is ridiculous that they are being attacked.

“Firefighters unable to work due to injuries or devices out of order due to damage put us all at risk. Our crews and officers work under very demanding conditions as we are committed to keeping the safety of the These acts are committed by a small minority of people doing so, but their actions can harm us as a fire service.

“The majority of those responsible are teenagers who need to be aware of the consequences and we are asking parents to talk to their children and educate them about what they are doing. We want to work with the public and our partners to make sure such things don’t happen, while holding those responsible accountable.

“Not only do they potentially put themselves and their community at risk, but they also risk getting in trouble with the police.”

Northumbria Police Neighborhood Inspector Phil Baker said: ‘Our blue light colleagues come to work every day to protect their communities and help people. They regularly face difficult situations – but too often this can include unnecessary levels of hostility and violence.

Neighborhood Inspector Phil Baker, Northumbria Police

“I want to make it clear that this is completely unacceptable and it is important that anyone who engages in such behavior towards emergency service personnel is brought to justice. Violence should never be simply considered part of the job – and we will take strong action against the minority involved in the recent incidents.

“Inquiries are ongoing into the events that took place at Farringdon and anyone with information is asked to contact the police using the ‘Tell Us Something’ page on our website or by calling 101 quoting the reference NP-20220711-1104.”

Alan Gallagher, Head of Risk and Regulatory Services at North East Ambulance Service, said: “Whether it’s bullying and harassment, verbal abuse, reckless behavior around our sites, damage/vandalism our property, nuisance calls and even calls for our help as a result of anti-social behavior.

“This type of behavior can have a direct and indirect impact on our services and our staff. Anti-social behavior is unacceptable and managing the impact places an unnecessary burden on our resources and staff who should be focused on providing care in our communities.

“The majority of the public are kind and respectful to our staff, but the actions of the minority can have a lasting impact on our staff and service delivery. These people should be under no illusions that their actions will not be tolerated and we will work with our partners to help resolve these issues.

“We encourage our paramedics to wear body cameras throughout their shift and support all colleagues in pursuing action against those who choose to abuse our staff or services.”

This week is National ASB Awareness Week and regional agencies are encouraging anyone involved in unrest to participate in one of the many diversion programs on offer.

You can report a deliberate fire or any information you may have about attacks on firefighters anonymously. You can report information to Northumbria Police via their website, by calling 101 or by calling Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Or for a deliberate fire, call Firestoppers on 0800 169 5558 or report it via their website.

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