All frontline workers at risk of attack
Sat, 15 Sep 2012 12:21p.m.
A law change that allows the courts to come down harder on people who assault emergency service staff should be extended to other public-sector workers on the frontline, the Public Service Association says.
Amendments to the Sentencing Act passed last week mean assaults on police and ambulance officers, firefighters, doctors, nurses and other emergency personnel will be considered as aggravating factors when judges make sentencing decisions.
The PSA welcomed the changes, saying it would provide some comfort to people delivering valuable emergency services, but the union wanted it to cover other workers at risk, national secretary Brenda Pilott said.
There was evidence of increasing violence against such workers and the PSA had argued strongly in a submission to the law and order select committee for the act to cover them.
"Public-sector workers in a range of front-line occupations, including ACC, Customs and social workers, are regularly subject to assault. We hear stories of staff being bitten, kicked, pushed against walls and having various projectiles thrown at them," she said.
Fishery officers were routinely subject to violence and threats as they tried to prevent poaching and illegal fishing. Health and safety advisers, especially those involved in biosecurity, had reported significant levels of assaults, she said.
"These are people in high-risk occupations that put themselves in danger for the good of New Zealand and the PSA hoped that the act would have acknowledged their contribution to society," she said.
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20/09/2012 12:19:09 p.m.
its allways one way. if a cop beats the shit out of my mates, nothing will happen.
19/09/2012 10:21:28 p.m.
I don't like the thought of our front-line staff been Assaulted, I recognize the horrors that they have to deal with on a daily basis! However, Assault is assault no matter who you are.Judges don't favor assault on front-line staff.If We give extra rights to certain People, It erodes the Rights of others! It can lead to abuse of that extra privilege, especially if the people getting the extra Rights are already in position of power (& there is knowledge of that been abused occasionally).We need to try to stop these assaults from occurring, Which evolves looking at our Society for the causes and finding positive instead of punitive solutions.Sadly I think bringing Doctors,Nurses, Fire fighters, Ambulance Staff into this is a manipulative tool to try to gain support for a law that whilst sounding *Noble* is anything but
18/09/2012 6:41:28 a.m.
The cruelty and abuser's should be fined up to $10,000 dollars or to prison for 10 years..
Stop fuzzing about Judge, make the criminals pay for the damages in full..
16/09/2012 9:45:28 p.m.
Southern man wrote:
@Mike "Take a couple with worst criminal records for assault than most gang members in NZ. The Duo of Sue Bradford and John Minto." Get a grip, man. They are not criminals! They may be a bit abrasive and in your face but criminals they are not. The fact that they have been arrested a few times just shows that they have been doing their job! Good on them. Wish they would do more, especially against this current extremist regime.
16/09/2012 5:39:41 p.m.
Emergency response dont need added danger of turning up to respond to an emergency to be assaulted.Take the yearly figures of any sector. The number of police as % who are assaulted each year is amoung the worst of any sector. Most of the assaults are done by a tiny minority which dont change as our courts have been doing nothing about it. No other sector in NZ has figures as bad. Police turn up to a domestic to try to stop one assaulting another, and regularly get assaulted by anyone there. NZ PSA just dont have that kind of situation generally. Take Police trying to arrest violent criminals who resist with violence?Take a couple with worst criminal records for assault than most gang members in NZ. The Duo of Sue Bradford and John Minto. There we have 2 people which have between them been arrested for assault over 100 times, and if add wilful damage, resisting arrest, its closer to 300.How is it scumbags can ignore the law and assault others and the courts ignores it? Oh wait, both have been involved in unions, and according to left loonies, anything in the name of unions is okay, like the murder of 2 security and 2 police in South Africa ...I would like a 3 strikes type law in NZ, as it would stop that garbage by scumbags. Assault is assault, and belonging to some criminal organistation, be it a gang, or a union, it should not give anyone an excuse for assaulting others.
16/09/2012 9:07:14 a.m.
Maybe doctors and nurses yes, but not WINZ and ACC - no way. The way this is going is that the govt's lackies all get special treatment whereas the public get abused even more.
15/09/2012 10:58:17 p.m.
Wiseacre the reason the frontline staff need more protection is because they are putting themselves at risk doing a good job for others. Nurses and doctors are in emergency departments trying to save lives and get abused by drunks, same goes for other emergency services.
15/09/2012 2:25:42 p.m.
Assault is assault. We can't *privilege* some over others because of their job.
What's next, if someone receiving welfare gets assaulted then the penalty is less because - in the eyes of some - beneficiaries don't contribute enough income tax towards the nation so don't *deserve* the full protection of the state that is awarded to *net-positive* taxpayers?
If a certain sector of workers is often subject to assault - frontline ACC staff for example - perhaps we should look into why that is. While I do not blame frontline ACC staff, the current culture of dis-entitlement at ACC is driving vulnerable people to the brink.
Perhaps that might have something to do with it.
15/09/2012 1:59:10 p.m.
I am pleased to see that the amendment takes into account ambulance workers and fire-fighters etc who are as much at risk as the Police from assault, and with no means to defend themselves (guns, tasers, batons, dogs and pepper spray). It's amazing that the PSA had to fight to get them included.
15/09/2012 12:53:06 p.m.
Having served in all three armed forces, as a customs officer, gun shop employee in central LA and currently as a security guard I found my most dangerous job was as a secondary school teacher. A job that appears to be missed from the article above.
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