Fines for blocking emergency vehicles

PUBLISHED: 14:03 01 March 2007 | UPDATED: 10:12 31 May 2010

PEOPLE who obstruct emergency workers across Uttlesford will face tough fines under new legislation. The Home Office has introduced new offences with fines of £5000 to deter people from getting in the way of emergency workers responding to emergencies. Al

PEOPLE who obstruct emergency workers across Uttlesford will face tough fines under new legislation.

The Home Office has introduced new offences with fines of £5000 to deter people from getting in the way of emergency workers responding to emergencies.

Although police officers are already protected under separate laws, ambulance and fire service staff will benefit from the revised measures.

Home Office minister Gerry Sutcliffe said the new laws, originally suggested in a private members' bill that got the support of the Government, show the Government is serious about ensuring people's safety.

He said: "Too often emergency workers are unable to get to incidents as quickly as they should due to a minority of people obstructing their rescue efforts.

"This seriously impacts on both the emergency workers' ability to do their jobs effectively and on those who require a quick response.

The news was welcomed by Essex Fire Service, which has seen 12 attacks on firefighters in 18 months.

Saffron Walden firefighter Paul Curtis said: "If people are causing an obstruction it could delay us in getting to a serious accident and could put lives at risk."

The East of England Ambulance Service was also pleased with the new law.

Paul Leaman, chief operating officer for the East of England Ambulance Service, said: "We welcome the act.

"Very often when ambulance crews go to treat patients or convey them to hospital, every second counts, so the introduction of consequences for the minority of people who impede this life-saving work is a great step forward."

He added: "We would ask drivers to take a moment when parking to ensure you have not made it potentially difficult for an ambulance to get past your parked vehicle.

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