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More than 400 homes flagged as 'dangerous' for paramedics.

Byline: Mark Smith and Claire Miller

HUNDREDS of homes in Wales have been flagged as "dangerous" for paramedics to attend following previous acts of violence and abusive behaviour. The Welsh Ambulance Service said its computer-assisted dispatch system has recorded more than 400 addresses as potentially posing a risk to staff.

Some 114 of them have been flagged for housing potentially violent people, while another 320 were deemed a potential safety risk to crew members.

When a 999 call is made from one of these addresses, the service will decide whether they need police assistance during the visit.

The number of flagged addresses has risen dramatically from 50 in January 2016 to 434 at the end of August 2017, according to a Freedom of Information request.

Ambulance chiefs say it's "completely unacceptable" staff are subjected to any form of abuse or violence while they're out helping people in need of medical treatment.

Claire Vaughan, the Welsh Ambulance Service's executive director for workforce and organisational development, said such attacks prevent employees from caring for others and have a "lasting physical and mental impact on hard-working staff".

"We take a zero-tolerance attitude to this kind of behaviour and will continue to work with police and the Crown Prosecution Service to identify those involved and seek prosecution," said Ms Vaughan. She added: "We aim to protect our colleagues by giving them training on how to deal with attacks, as well as providing our full support to anyone who has been the victim of one.

"We would ask everyone to please treat them with the respect they deserve."

More than half of the flagged addresses were reported in south Wales, with 100 in the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board area, 47 in Cardiff and Vale's area, 45 in Cwm Taf and 77 in Aneurin Bevan.

Across the UK around 5,000 addresses were flagged as either having a risk of violence, needing police assistance or housing abusive residents in July 2017.

The figures suggest that problems may be getting worse, as around 4,800 addresses were flagged at the end of 2015.

A Welsh Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: "The alerts are designed to allow control room staff and responding crews with sufficient information to conduct an initial dynamic risk assessment as to whether or not police attendance is required in order to secure the scene.

"The responding crew then conducts a further dynamic risk assessment on their approach to the scene and again determines whether or not additional support is required.

"The safety and welfare of our staff is of paramount importance and the telephone assessment software is designed to highlight any potential scene safety issues."

Rhondda MP Chris Bryant is set to introduce a proposed new law, the Crime (Assaults on Emergency Staff) Bill, to make attacks on emergency workers such as police, fire and ambulance crews an aggravated offence.

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 5, 2017
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