In a deeply concerning incident, sisters Jade and Carla Couperthwaite from Bolton have been sentenced to a 12-month Community Order and 10 Rehabilitation Days for assaulting and racially abusing North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) paramedics in June 2022.
Both must also pay £50 to the paramedics they assaulted and racially abused.
In the incident in question, Jade Couperthwaite, 32, punched a paramedic who was assisting her sister Carla.
Following this, she was then found guilty of criminal damage after urinating in a police van.
Carla, 26, meanwhile, racially abused a paramedic, spat at a police officer, and caused further damage by urinating in an ambulance.
Commenting on the case, Philippa White, Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West, stated:
“The way Jade and Carla Couperthwaite behaved that day was truly shocking and unacceptable in today’s society.
“They attacked and racially abused paramedics who were helping one of them, attacked a police officer and then urinated in a police van and ambulance, leading to the vehicles being taken out of commission whilst they were cleaned.”
She added, “The CPS takes attacks on our emergency workers extremely seriously.
“They must be able to go about their critical work without being assaulted or suffering racist attacks.
“An assault on any individual is a terrible thing, but an assault on an emergency worker is an assault on us all.”
Recent statistics paint a concerning picture of the risks facing NWAS staff.
In the 12 months to March 2023, there were 1,244 assaults on North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) staff, marking a 20% increase from the previous 12 months, when there were 1,036 assaults.
Verbal abuse is the most common type of assault on NWAS staff, accounting for 60% of all reported incidents.
Physical assaults, meanwhile, make up 30% of all assaults, and the remaining 10% are attributed to other types of assault, such as sexual assault.
Most of these incidents occur while paramedics attend to patients at home or in the community.
Still, assaults can also occur at the ambulance station or while staff are en route to or from a call.
In response to these unsettling statistics, NWAS has implemented several measures designed to protect its staff, including de-escalation training, self-defence instruction, CCTV cameras in ambulances and ambulance stations, and collaborations with the police to investigate staff assaults.
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