Paramedics aren’t ordinary people. They’re lifesavers – every 999 callout is, potentially, a matter of life and death to those who’ve been taken seriously ill – and they shouldn’t be in a position in which they genuinely fear for their own safety from passers-by or, in some cases, patients.
But this, sadly, is not a new phenomenon. Tony Blair identified the issue of ‘respect’ in his victory speech after the 2005 general election when he admitted: “We’ve done a lot so far with anti-social behaviour and additional numbers of police, but I want to make this a particular priority for this government – how we bring back a proper sense of respect in our schools, in our communities, in our towns, in our villages.”
Yet, while Mr Blair promised “a radical programme of legislation” with a specific focus on law and order, countless initiatives by successive governments have been insufficient to address a societal issue that ranges from parental responsibility to the abject failure of the courts to use the full force of sentencing powers now at their disposal in the wake of the Protect The Protectors legislation championed by Halifax MP Holly Lynch.
And, until those who abuse and assault emergency workers are given punishments that act as a genuine deterrent and wake-up call, this sorry state of affairs will continue to shame Britain.