ATTACKS which have seen ambulance staff in the north west threatened with a knife, punched and subjected to sexual assault have taken place more than 4,000 times since 2020. 

Despite an overall decrease over three years, the threat to ambulance personnel continues persistently, according to the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS).

The data, following a Freedom of Information request, show a slight reduction in a large area of these incidents from 2020 to September 2022.

However, incidents of sexual attacks have risen, with the number increasing from 244 in 2021/2022 up to 279 until September 2023.

A consistent threat remains from knife-wielding aggressors.

In 2020/21, there were 1,476 total attacks in some form reported, a figure which increased to 1,568 the following year.  By the end of 2023, the overall figure stood at 1,238. 

In response, a North West Ambulance Service spokesperson emphasised the importance of protecting ambulance staff from violence and aggression as well as the need for the frontline workers to come forward if they are subject to such attacks. 

A North West Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “Ambulance staff work hard to help the public every day in their times of need, and they should be able to do that without the fear of suffering violence and aggression.

 “Attacks can have long-lasting effects, mentally and physically, and we do a lot of work to support staff who’ve been victims.

"We always encourage them to report incidents no matter the situation and, where appropriate, to work with the police to push for prosecution." 

At the onset of the pandemic in 2020, assaults including kicking, slapping, headbutting, and verbal abuse skyrocketed by 23 per cent compared to the previous year.

In response to these alarming trends, the #WorkWithoutFear campaign was launched. The initiative aims to raise awareness, show support for frontline staff in the ambulance service, and promote a culture of non-violence.

"We work closely with the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE) to support and promote their anti-violence and aggression campaign ‘Work Without Fear’," a NWAS spokesperson added.