Vandals put lives at risk by attacking ambulances
WINDOWS smashed, ambulance doors ripped off and tyres let down – just some of the ways mindless yobs are putting patients and ambulance staff at risk in Greater Manchester.
Over the past three years, the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) has recorded dozens of acts of senseless vandalism, with emergency and non-emergency vehicles targeted. Half of the incidents were in Greater Manchester.
NWAS bosses have to pay out thousands of pounds to fix the damage, which often sees vehicles taken off the road meaning crews are unable to respond to emergencies.
Since February 2015, there have been 33 incidents of vandalism involving NWAS vehicles. Of l those, 16 were in Greater Manchester.
Figures, released following a Freedom of Information request, do not provide exact locations where incidents took place. Incidents in Greater Manchester included: l March 2015: The side door of an ambulance being pulled off l June 2015: An ambulance window blind being ripped off l July 2015: The side of an ambulance being ‘punched in’ l December 2016: Tyres being let down on an ambulance and the tyre cap going missing l January 2016: The door of an ambulance being ‘kicked in’ and the wing mirror broken l March 2016: A jacket belonging to staff being stolen along with personal belongings l July 2016: Alcohol being thrown at an ambulance and the wiper blade being pulled off l September 2016: A Patient Transfer Service vehicle having its window broken l February 2017: Cider being thrown through an ambulance, covering staff l March 2017: Both wing mirrors being smashed on an ambulance and the indicator and wires being pulled out l May 2017: A Rapid Response Vehicle having its wing mirror snapped off l July 2017: An ambulance window being smashed by a patient l August 2017: A Rapid Response Vehicle having its registration plate pulled off and the bonnet and doors being kicked in l September 2017: An object being thrown at an ambulance in transit, leaving a large dent in the side panel l January 2018: An ambulance having its window smashed l February 2018: A traffic cone being thrown at an ambulance, shattering the window
The 16 incidents across Greater Manchester were referred to police. An NWAS spokeswoman for the trust said: “The vast majority of the time, we are treated with the greatest respect by the public and our patients but on occasion we have found ourselves subject to mindless vandalism.
“What may seem like a prank can have serious implications to the ambulance service. Not only could it cost a huge amount of money in repair bills, it can put vital vehicles off the road meaning they are unable to be used to respond to emergencies and can even endanger our staff and patients. We will always work with our police colleagues to report acts of vandalism which can result in serious punishments for offenders.” FOUR years on from an horrific crash which saw a GMP horse flung 10ft, the force’s mounted unit has become the first in the country to gain an award promoting safe riding.
Since 2010, 39 people and 230 horses have died in the UK as a result of accidents on the road, according to the British Horse Society.
In 2014, two GMP officers and horses were involved in a serious incident while patrolling the streets of Manchester.
A vehicle collided with one of the horse’s back legs causing him to fall on the bonnet of the car and smash through the windscreen.
The horse, Steele, was then flung forward 10 feet falling onto his side, but miraculously both the officers and horses survived the incident.
GMP’s Mounted Unit, (pictured above), has now become the first in the country to complete the British Horse Society’s ‘Ride Safe’ Award, designed to provide riders with the skills and knowledge to ride safely in all environments.
It follows on from the charity’s ‘Dead Slow’ campaign, which aims to educate drivers on how to safely pass horses on the road. Chief Inspector Tariq Butt, from GMP’s Roads Policing and Mounted Unit, said: “Animal and rider welfare and safety is paramount.”
There have been dozens of attacks on North West Ambulance Service vehicles