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REPORT ON PROTECTION FROM ASSAULT FOR EMERGENCY SERVICES

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A special working group report which concludes that measures for protection from assault for the emergency services...
A special working group report which concludes that measures for protection from assault for the emergency services in Scotland arE satisfactory and that necessary further steps to provide improved protection are under consideration or are being developed, has been published by the Scottish Office.

Commenting on the report, Scottish office minister James Douglas-Hamilton, said:

'Our emergency services do sterling work in ensuring the safety of the people of Scotland and in doing so they often have to put themselves at risk.

'We must do all we can to see that risks from assault are minimised, so I very much welcome this report which concludes that the police, fire and ambulance services are fully aware of the risks to their personnel and have taken, or are putting in hand, steps to avoid or reduce the risks involved.

'The report's recommendations will lead to further improvement in the safety of emergency services staff.'

The report has been prepared by a working group comprising representatives of the police, fire and ambulance services, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and the Scottish office under the chairmanship of Bill Moodie, former chief constable of Fife constabulary.

The working group's recommendations are as follows:

-- There should be close collaboration among the three services at local level on good practice in all aspects of protection from assault, including in particular the sharing of information about potential trouble spots; about procedures for dealing with specific problems such as the risk of contamination; and about training in means of dealing with aggression.

-- Once a stab-proof vest which is effective and comfortable to wear has been developed, it should be made available as soon as possible to police officers in Scotland.

-- If trials prove that incapacitant sprays may safely be used, chief constables should consider whether they ought to be deployed within their forces.

-- The fire service should review the adequacy of systems for recording assaults on firefighters and identifying areas where trouble may arise, and of the training provided to firefighters in means of dealing with aggression, and introduce improvements as necessary.

-- The ambulance service should review the adequacy of systems for reporting assaults on ambulance staff and identifying trouble spots, of the personal communications equipment available to ambulance staff, and of the training of ambulance personnel and control room staff in the areas considered in this report.

The report is being issued to the police, fire and ambulance services for appropriate action to be taken on its recommendations.

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