Frontline emergency service workers have been subject to spitting, biting and even sexual assault according to a shocking catalogue of offences.

But today (FRI) they are saying enough is enough.

Police, ambulance, fire and healthcare staff have banded together to highlight what they describe as the unacceptable number of assaults faced by staff while on duty.

In 2016 paramedics from South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) were on the receiving end of more than 161 assaults, an increase of 20 per cent compared to five years ago. The type of injuries ambulance crews have received range from cuts and bruising and sprains through to more serious injuries such as dislocations and fractures.

Out of the 140 reported incidents by crews, 50 have resulted in successful police cautions and prosecutions which range from suspended sentence, community service orders, restorative orders, fines and even imprisonment. 

In Dorset there were 14 incidents which led to paramedics being injured. The majority involved drugs or alcohol. Two incidents in West Dorset which left paramedics with bruising led to restorative justice orders being handed out.

In East Dorset the perpetrator of an assault was ordered to pay £150 in compensation for an incident which led to a paramedic having to take 32 days off work. Another incident in West Dorset resulted in a community order for the perpetrator, including 120 hours of unpaid work and having to pay the victim £100.

In several incidents crews did not want to press charges.

David Partlow, consultant paramedic for SWASFT, said: “We take a zero tolerance approach to any form of physical or verbal abuse towards our staff, and all reports of violence and aggression are taken very seriously. We work closely with the police to seek prosecutions where possible. 

“Every member of the trust staff plays a vital role in serving the community by helping to deliver the right care in the right place at the right time and staff should be able to fulfil their life-saving role without fear of abuse or assault.”

The trust encourages all incidents to be reported as soon as possible and has a robust reporting mechanism in place. Staff are also supported by the SWASFT Staying Well Service which provides immediate access to numerous sources of support including specialist counselling and physiotherapy.

Police officers have also suffered assaults. The Police Federation has previously claimed that up to 100 police officers every day in Dorset suffer attacks – though official figures put the number much lower at around one per day.

A spokesman for Dorset Police said: “Unfortunately, the nature of policing means that our officers and staff will, at times, encounter hostility, however, we do not tolerate any type of assault on our staff and any offenders are dealt with robustly.

“Officers and front line staff are also regularly trained in personal safety to enable them to deal with such situations.”