News

First prison term handed down under law designed to protect nurses from assault

Magistrates use new powers under Assaults on Emergency Workers Act 2018

Magistrates use new powers under Assaults on Emergency Workers Act 2018


Picture: Alamy

A man has been jailed in the first case using a new law aimed at strengthening protection of nurses, police and other emergency workers against violence.

Daniel Hilton, 27, of Hawthorne Grove, Wigan, was sent to prison for three months on 27 November for biting a police officer. Magistrates in Manchester used the new Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018 to impose the sentence.

Tougher prison sentences

The legislation means maximum prison sentences for those who assault public sector workers in the course of their duty double from six months to one year.

The RCN had lobbied ministers to include nursing staff in the legislation.

‘Being targeted while you are coming to the rescue of others is nothing short of inexcusable’

Annette Anderson, assistant chief constable, Greater Manchester Police

RCN national officer Kim Sunley said: 'This is an important first step in ensuring the act is used to deter assaults. Violence against nursing staff will not be tolerated and the RCN hopes to see it used in cases against those who wilfully assault nursing staff.'

Last month, health and social care secretary Matt Hancock said the NHS would adopt a zero-tolerance approach to violence against its staff and prosecute offenders quickly, using the new legislation.

Assaults at a five-year high

The most recent NHS staff survey showed that more than one in eight health service employees experienced violence in the past year – the highest figure for five years.

Greater Manchester assistant chief constable Annette Anderson, said: 'Being attacked when you are simply trying to do your job is something no-one should have to face but being targeted while you are coming to the rescue of others is nothing short of inexcusable.

'As we do in any case, we will robustly pursue those who use violence against those responding to 999 calls and will do everything in our power, with the newly welcomed legislation, to protect the protectors.'


Related material


In other news

This is a free article for registered users

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this? You can register for free access.

Jobs