EMERGENCY services leaders have condemned the hundreds of "unacceptable" attacks on their staff, who have been bitten, kicked, threatened, and spat at while they carry out their duties.

Last week the Argus reported how 373 assaults of emergency workers had been reported to Gwent Police in the past 12 months.

The vast majority of these assaults were against Gwent Police officers or staff.


The force's chief constable, Pam Kelly, said her officers and staff "help keep your friends, family and community safe" and were usually the first people to respond to calls for help.

Police officers put themselves in danger on a daily basis, she added, on the behalf of others including the most vulnerable members of society.

“I am continuing to witness my officers and staff assaulted on their shifts," Ch Con Kelly said. "They are spat at, kicked, bitten, threatened – these are humans and not robots. They have families that care for them, they have families that worry.

"Ultimately, these people keep you safe and they deserve respect."

Claire Vaughan, of the Welsh Ambulance Service (WAS), said staff "save people's lives day in, day out".

"They encounter people who are under extreme stress when they or their loved one is suffering, but that's not an excuse for abuse or assaults," she added. "It's not what our staff should have to accept and as an organisation we stand with them."

Both services said they offered support and care for workers who had been assaulted, and praised a recent law which introduced stricter punishments for those who assaulted emergency workers.

The law covers attacks on workers including police officers, paramedics, firefighters, prison officers, and NHS healthcare and support staff.

Ch Con Kelly said the new law sent "a clear message that assaults on emergency workers is totally unacceptable".

And Ms Vaughan said 12 custodial sentences, as well as 10 compensation orders and 12 fines, had been handed down to criminals who had attacked WAS staff since the law was introduced in November 2018.

She added: "We urge the public to think about the physical and psychological impact of violence and aggression has not just on individuals, but to also about the wider impact on the critical service they provide to our community.”