• Over 400 attacks every week on doctors, nurses, cabbies and receptionists
  • Wearable GPS ‘panic button’ technology would protect essential workers and slash the multi-million pound workplace violence bill

65,970 workers in the UK have been attacked whilst on duty in the last three years, working out at over 400 incidents every week.1

A new report “Risky Business: Protecting frontline workers from attack whilst on duty” has collected FOI data from hospital trusts, emergency services, the transport sector and Government departments.

Figures for the last three years2 show:

  • Doctors and nurses: 12,386 physical assaults have been reported on staff working in acute services such as hospital emergency departments, maternity wards and medical imaging units.3 These incidents did not involve medical factors such as mental ill health or learning disabilities.4
  • Ambulance crews: 11,336 first responders and paramedics have been assaulted – the most affected being London, North West and South Western Ambulance Services.5
  • Police officers: 22,056 police officers and 1,077 PCSOs have been attacked whilst on duty in England and Wales.6
  • UK Rail staff: 6,045 rail staff have been physically and verbally attacked. Staff in London have suffered the highest number of violent incidents, with 3,719. The most common offences include common assault, ABH and racially aggravated incidents.7
  • Tube staff: 7,435 staff have suffered from threats, physical or verbal abuse. The most common reported incidents relate to revenue disputes, drunkenness, racial aggravation and service disruptions.8
  • Bus drivers: One major national bus company has reported 1,176 assaults.9 In London, five bus drivers are attacked every day, amounting to 5,155 incidents. Three in ten (1,546) are physical attacks.10
  • Taxi drivers: Nationally, 65 private hire drivers have been murdered in the last 20 years.11 Cabbies have reportedly been attacked with guns, knives, baseball bats, a hammer and even a wheelie bin. Drivers have even been set on fire and run over by their own vehicles.12 In London, 480 London Taxi and mini cab drivers have been victims of violence.13

Graham Brinkhurst, London Taxi driver for 16 years:

‘He called me a f*cking d*ckhead and pushed me aggressively’

“I was attacked back in February this year after picking up a young couple in Camden. I’d driven 100 yards down a one-way system with them when the man asked me to turn right. He became insistent despite the fact that it was not possible to turn off in the first place. He got more and more abusive and repeatedly called me names such as f*cking d*ckhead. I suggested to them that it would be best if we end the journey and they get another cab. As I pulled over, left the cab, and opened the back door to let them out, the guy pushed me aggressively. I stumbled backwards and fell onto the kerb, breaking my thigh bone. Eventually, a passer-by called the ambulance for me. I was off work for three months and lost about £7k in income.”

Today’s report urges the transport sector and emergency services to begin trials of affordable wearable technology, initially in London, to help protect frontline workers, especially if they are mobile or work alone.

A one-year pilot of 100 wearable real-time GPS panic button devices should be trialled by appropriate staff such as bus and taxi drivers and those in overground and train stations. The kit, costing an estimated £33k, including all hardware and service plans,14 has the potential to reduce the annual £2.2m cost of workplace violence to TfL.15

Similarly, a one-year pilot of 100 body-worn cameras for frontline London ambulance crews and a further 100 on-vehicle CCTV cameras on ambulances, costing an estimated £106,000 would equate to less than just one year of the annual £125,700 sick bill caused by violence.16

Author of the report, GLA Conservative crime spokesman Roger Evans said:

Roger-opinion“We depend on frontline workers whether it’s a medical emergency or getting us to work. These people need to be treated with respect. Shockingly, I have uncovered figures which show that violence against people like nurses, cabbies and receptionists is rife. They are being punched, kicked, scratched, threatened and spat on every day whilst doing their job. Affordable wearable technology such as wearable panic buttons and body worn cameras will help bolster the security and protection of these essential workers. They would act as visible deterrents for criminals, monitor the safety of staff and call for help in an emergency. Furthermore, video evidence from cameras would make it easier to report crimes, avoid disputes and shorten trials. These wearable GPS kits, body and vehicle cameras would bear down on the massive cost of workplace violence, and I expect eventually pay for itself.”

“Risky Business” is the latest report for Roger Evan’s campaign to protect frontline workers from attack and injury while on duty. It can be accessed at: www.glaconservatives.co.uk/rb



Click here to download the report

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1 12,386 NHS staff + 11,336 ambulance crew +22,056 police officers + 1,077 PCSOs + 6,045 rail staff + 7,435 London Underground staff + 5,155 London bus drivers + 480 London cab drivers = 65,970.
2 Data is for 2011, 2012 and 2013
3 Reported physical assaults on NHS staff figures http://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/3645.aspx Last accessed 08/09/2014
4 These incidents did not involve medical factors whereby the perpetrator did not know what they were doing due to mental ill health, medical illness or learning disabilities.
5 FOI data provided by seven ambulance Trusts directly to Roger Evans in 2014. The Trusts were: London Ambulance, South East Coast, South Western, West Midlands, East Midlands, Yorkshire and North West Ambulance Services, on file
6 FOI data provided by the Home Office directly to Roger Evans AM in August 2014, on file. Data includes assaults which result in serious injury, minor injury, no injury as well as verbal threats and attempts of assaults
7 FOI data released from British Transport Police to Roger Evans in 2014, on file
8 Figures provided by TfL directly to Roger Evans upon request in 2014, on file
9 Information provided by Arriva directly to Roger Evans in 2014, on file
10 Figures provided by TfL directly to Roger Evans upon request in 2014, on file
11 Information provided by the National Private Hire Association directly to Roger Evans in 2014, on file
12 Westminster Hall debate on private hire and Hackney Carriage vehicles by Richard Fuller MP http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2012-02-29b.399.0&s=%28taxi%29+speaker%3A24787#g399.2 Last accessed 09/09/14
13 FOI data provided by the Met police to Roger Evans in 2014, on file
14 Quote provided by manufacturers directly to Roger Evans in May 2014, on file
15 Information provided by TfL directly to Roger Evans in 2014, on file
16 Paramedics in Peril, Roger Evans www.glaconservatives.co.uk/pip Last accessed 08/09/2014