Amidst a spate of acid attacks, ambulance crews in London are on heightened alert over their own safety after a paramedic was attacked with chemicals while driving to an emergency.The 32-year-old ambulance driver, who wishes to remain anonymous, was flagged down in Tottenham Hale, north London, by three men who appeared to be in distress.
The men pulled bandanas over their faces when she asked what was wrong, before one of them threw liquid at her from a plastic bottle through the vehicle window.
Describing the attack as “terrifying” and “cowardly”, the paramedic said in a statement: “It is my job to help people. I was on my way to help a patient and I stopped because I am caring and I thought they needed my help.
“They have taken away my trust. What they’ve done is horrific in so many ways. It was premeditated and it delayed a patient getting treatment.
“It took a paramedic off the road that night. And yet if one of my attackers were hurt, I would still treat them because that is the job.”
Following the assault, the woman was taken to hospital — where acid was ruled out — but the noxious substance caused irritation and reddening on her face, neck and chest.
Assistant director of operations at London Ambulance Service, Peter Rhodes, said he was appalled by the assault on the lone paramedic.
He added: “We have reported this incident to the police and will do everything in our power to make sure those responsible are identified and convicted for this senseless attack.”
In response to the incident, frontline ambulance crews in the capital are being reminded of the need to be cautious when flagged down by anyone requesting help, the Daily Mail reported.
The use of a “noxious substance” against a paramedic in the unprovoked attack comes months after the leader of a Swedish ambulance driver’s union spoke out on the so-called “no go zones” his members were now struggling to serve, after several attacks on staff. With regards to the violence ambulance crews experience in the high crime, migration areas union boss Gordon Grattidge said his staff needed military-style protective equipment.
The attack on the paramedic follows an incident last Thursday in east London in which five people were sprayed with a corrosive substance in less than 90 minutes.
A victim of the crime spree last week, Jabed Hussain, led a protest at Parliament Square at which hundreds of delivery drivers said the rise in acid attacks has meant they are too afraid to work after dark.
They say the attack on Hussain, who had his scooter stolen while he was attacked with a corrosive substance last week, reflects an environment in which drivers and their vehicles are constantly targeted.
“I’m really scared to go back to work again because there’s not enough police to chase the thieves — they could do acid to anyone but the government isn’t taking proper action or probably there’s not enough police on the street.”
In May Breitbart London reported how — with 1,800 assaults using corrosive liquid having taken place in London alone since 2010 — the UK is now the world’s acid attack capital, according to charity Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI), whose director said that Britain is now the nation “with the highest number of acid attacks per head”.