Van­dals put lives at risk by at­tack­ing am­bu­lances

Glossop Advertiser - - News - Sam Yarwood

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

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