Rachel Harrison, GMB National Officer told BuzzFeed News that the UK government was supposed to be introducing a new system for staff to report assaults but they have yet to see it implemented. “It’s appalling that our members are still being left vulnerable and at risk of attacks whilst at work – even more so now with the additional threat of Covid infection,” she said.
Though the 16% increase has not been made public, press reports have highlighted a number of coronavirus-related crimes.
On April 20, Darren Bosworth, 35, was jailed in April for punching an emergency care assistant in the face and assaulting police officers who arrived at the scene. Appearing at Swindon Magistrates Court via video link he pleaded guilty to two counts of assaulting an emergency worker and criminal damage and received a six month prison sentence.
Another man who coughed in the face of a paramedic after telling him he had coronavirus was jailed for 20 weeks. Two paramedics were called out to Jonathan Brunsdon’s home in Gloucestershire on March 28 when a friend began showing symptoms of coronavirus. Paramedics attempted to reassure Brunsdon about his friend’s medical condition but the 43-year-old “descended into criticism and name calling” before coughing into the paramedic’s face before saying “ha ha, you got it now”, according to the prosecutor.
Last week, Joseph Hugh admitted to assaulting a paramedic and threatening to spit on a police officer. He appeared at Exeter Magistrates Court where he received a 30 week custodial sentence.
Another man was arrested in Coventry after allegedly punching a paramedic in the face. Paramedics attended 21-year-old after he suggested he was suffering breathing difficulties. He then reportedly lashed out as he demanded an inhaler and punched the paramedic who was admitted to hospital with a suspected broken jaw.