Youth weapon injuries decrease in East Anglia

Picture by: Ian West/PA Archive/PA Images.
Picture by: Ian West/PA Archive/PA Images.

The number of ambulance responses to youth weapon injuries continues to fall in the East of Anglia, SR News investigation reveals.

Figures released from an investigation by SR News, through Freedom of Information requests (FOI) to East of Anglia Ambulance Service Trust, can reveal a decrease in the number of responses from 2011 to 2014.

Additional information was also gathered through the East of Anglia Ambulance Service Trust disclosure log which showed that 2011 recorded 1,281 calls of which 1,012 were responded too.

This fell by 13.2 per cent by the year 2014, which saw more calls made – 1,043 of which 878 were responded to by the ambulance service.

East of Anglia Ambulance Service Trust spokesperson said: “A decrease in the number of calls we receive to attend a wounded person is of course the direction we all want to be going in for matters of all public safety.

“Some of them are completely accidental, of course, such as accidents in the home, which needs to be borne in mind when considering these numbers in totality.

“But for those we do go to which are assaults, these incidents also pose a threat to our staff because of the safety issues which entail, so the fewer we need to respond to, the better the safety for our crews as well.

“We respond to about 86 per cent of our 999 calls across the service. Some calls are duplicates of the same incident. Say we send an ambulance and RRV to five 999 calls about the same stabbing, it’s counted as one response and not five separate ones, so if this happens several times a year, then that can be one of the causes of the gap.”

Through the investigation by SRNews, it was revealed that there were eight responses to children under the age of five in 2014 which fell by one the following year.

Ambulance attendant Laura Wilson said: “This is something that brings it home to us as workers and when it decreases it can only mean good news to everyone.

“We, as workers, try our hardest to get to the scenes as quickly as possible and help. The occasions we get there and it is too late are devastating but, fortunately, this has only happened once to me, and I hope it never does again. We have a job to do and we do it as best we can.

“But when it is children that makes it a lot harder as it touches on heartstrings, but we have to be supportive for the sake of their families.”

The SR News investigation also finds that police are always contacted when there is a risk of violence to staff at The Trust and if a weapon has been used.

Peterborough City Councillor and former Cambridgeshire Police Authority Member Dave Sanders said: “It is good to see there is a decrease in the amount of responses because that means we are doing something positive.

“Youths can bring a lot of negativity around crimes and weapons and so it is good to ensure there is some good coming from it too.

“Although some of the statistics will be accountable to accidents, it is important to reiterate how the decrease shows that crime among youths is heading in the right direction.”

The figures showed that 11.8 per cent of those responses were accountable to patients between the ages of 1 and 18.

Incidents which are categorised as weapon attacks include: stabbing, gunshot and penetrating trauma. However, some cases could be related to as accidents.

Previous years have fluctuated in the number of callouts and responses within East Anglia.

  • 2012- 1,042 calls with 837 responses (the lowest so far)
  • 2013- 1,018 calls with 840 responses

Mayor of Peterborough John Peach said: “It is good news, as it always is when things like this are decreasing. There are always agencies like the police and the council working together to help ensure matters like these stay in the lowest numbers possible.

“There are two different projects within Peterborough. One is the Fire Brigade, which are now working with schools to help pick up on children incidents before they happen.

“Although it is not directly related, they are there giving advice about all things. They are then able to pick up on things happening at home or elsewhere to ensure they help as much as possible before things occur.

“Another project we have is the co-operation between police and night clubs and the ambulance service on nights out. They are all now interlinked so that they can talk to each other about incidents such as those involving knives which can minimise the amount that they happen in the city.”

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