A woman has been arrested after an abusive note was left on an ambulance, complaining about where the ambulance was parked. 

The individual in this case has been arrested for a public order offence. However, causing nuisance to, or abuse of, those providing care and treatment, particularly in an emergency, are matters which Parliament has also legislated specifically against.

These 'specialist' offences provide further tools for tackling seriously unacceptable behaviour against blue-light and health service staff, in addition to the broader range of more routine public order and violence offences.

The specific offences include: 

  • obstructing or hindering those responding to an emergency (including firefighters, ambulance and other health workers) further to the Emergency Workers (Obstruction) Act 2006 - see guidance here; and
  •  under the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, causing a nuisance or disturbance on NHS premises - see guidance here (this Act also contains a power to remove perpetrators).

Of course, criminal sanctions will typically be reserved only for the most egregious kinds of behaviour. There are a range of other steps (including legal measures) that can be taken against those involved in other kinds of unacceptable behaviour against those providing health and other blue-light services more generally. 

Let us know if you'd like more information on this area.