UK Study: Alcohol-Fueled Violence Against Responders on Rise

Oct. 28, 2015
The majority don't feel they have adequate training to deal with intoxicated people.

A recent UK study shows people under the influence of alcohol are causing issues for responders, who don't feel they are prepared to deal with them.

"Perhaps the most shocking finding of our survey was how widespread drunken physical, sexual and verbal abuse of emergency services staff is. Again, police and ambulance crews suffer the worst. Three quarters of police respondents, and half of ambulance respondents, had been injured in alcohol-related incidents. Between a third and a half of all service people had suffered sexual harassment or abuse at the hands of intoxicated members of the public," authors of the Institute of Alcohol Studies wrote.

"Ambulance staff were particularly at risk, with 51% reporting sexually-related incidents, but the numbers were concerningly high across all services. This has created a culture of fear in the emergency services, particularly for those out on the streets. 78% of police feel at risk of drunken assaults, compared to 65% of ambulance staff. But even Emergency Department Consultants within hospitals believe themselves to be in danger, with 35% concerned about the possibility of physical attack," they concluded

Survey findings include:

  • Violence against emergency services is ubiquitous, with 76% of police, and 50% of ambulance staff having been injured on the job as a result of drunken violence
  • Between a third and a half of emergency service staff have suffered sexual harassment or assault in the line of duty
  • Alcohol takes up as much as half of emergency service time
  • Emergency services are increasingly stretched, with over 90% of police and ambulance staff reporting they have performed the role of another blue light service in dealing with alcohol-related incidents
  • Over half of emergency service staff feel inadequately trained to deal with alcohol-related incidents

Training seems to be a greater issue for ambulance and fire staff. 53% of ambulance staff felt they were inadequately prepared for dealing with alcohol-related incidents, with 64% expressing the view that additional training would be helpful. For fire departments, 72% believed they lacked training, and 62% would like more, according to the report.

Read the report.

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