19 February 2003
Violent attacks on all public service workers must be stopped
UNISON, Scotland's largest public service union, welcomed the amendment
to the Criminal Justice Bill being put forward by Paul Martin MSP
on Wednesday 19 Feb when the Bill is debated in Parliament.
The amendment creates a new offence of assault on an emergency
service worker - in particular firefighters and emergency medical
teams. UNISON supports this but thinks it should be extended to
cover all public service workers attacked in the course of their
"A positive step forward like Paul Martin's amendment should be
supported by MSPs." Said Matt Smith UNISON's Scottish Secretary.
"But, vital though protection for our firefighters and ambulance
crews is, violent attacks are increasingly suffered by many other
public service workers during their work.
And violence is on the increase, in certain sectors we are talking
a 100-200% rise in assaults. As well as firefighters and ambulance
workers, social care staff, accident an emergency unit staff, traffic
wardens and many others are experiencing serious assaults at the
hands of their customers or clients.
"All these workers are working - often unsocial hours, and in
poor conditions, to deliver all our services. We have a moral obligation
to give them the best protection we can." Matt Smith said.
Paul Martin MSP's amendment will be debated by the Scottish Parliament
during the Stage 3 debate on the Criminal Justice Bill.
[UNISON has produced a briefing on its policy on the amendment
which will be available on their website at http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/response/cjamend.html]
For Further Information Please Contact: Matt Smith (Scottish
Secretary) 0845 355 0845(w) 07771 548 997(m) Dave Watson (Scottish
Organiser Policy&Info) 0845 355 0845(w) 07787 558 410(m) Chris Bartter
(Communications Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) 0771 558 3729(m)