Emergency workers (Scotland) Act 2005

It is a criminal offence to impede or assault people who provide emergency services. Assaulting an emergency worker in Scotland is a relatively common offence. With over 600 recorded crimes in some months in parts of 2020. Emergency services personnel includes police officers, members of the fire/ambulance service, prison officers and many more. If you are charged with assaulting a police officer or any emergency worker call a lawyer ASAP.

Emergency workers Act FAQ

A: This act makes it an offence to assault, obstruct or hinder an emergency worker whilst they are providing, responding to or carrying out emergency services.
A: You can be imprisoned for up to 12 months, fined up to £10,000 or both.

Emergency workers Act crime penalties

This offence is liable under summary conviction. Imprisonment of up to 12 months and/or a fine of up to £10,000 may be the punishment.

Assaulting or impeding certain providers of emergency services

As stated, assaulting or impeding an emergency worker is an offence. This offence is committed when an emergency working is acting in a certain capacity. These capacities are as follows:

  • A constable
  • The fire service: firefighting, road traffic accidents, other emergencies, emergency directions and other eventualities, also investigating fires.
  • Emergency ambulance staff carrying out work
  • Registered medical practitioners
  • A registered nurse
  • A registered midwife

Assaulting or impeding certain emergency workers responding to emergency circumstances

Under the emergency workers act it is also an offence to assault, obstruct or impede:

  • Prison officers
  • Members of Her Majesty’s Coastguard
  • A crewmember operating on a vessel that is part of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution
  • Any other rescue service that operates on a body of water
  • Assaulting, obstructing or impeding a social worker from carrying out a child protection order is an offence
  • Mental health officers

It is also an offence to assault, impede or obstruct people who are on their way to deal with emergency circumstances or are preparing to do so. These emergency circumstances include responding to situations where there is likely to be harm caused, serious injury/illness, serious harm to the environment (includes buildings) or are likely to cause death to a person.

An offence is also committed if you assault, obstruct or impede someone who is assisting emergency services.

Assaulting health workers on hospital premises

As mentioned above assaulting, obstructing or impeding health workers such as registered nurses/midwives is an offence. The obstruction and impeding does not have to be of physical means. It can be stopping an emergency vehicle, impeding the use of apparatus or equipment used by emergency personnel.

Emergency workers (Scotland) Act 2005 Defence

These offences are only committed if the person who assaulted, obstructed or hindered the emergency worker knew or ought to know they were acting in a certain emergency capacity. This does not mean you will be charged with no crime though. You can still be charged with assault if you assault an emergency worker. Our criminal lawyers have experience in using this defence to have charges acquitted so please explain your circumstances.

Our criminal defence lawyers

The best thing you can do for your defence is to hire a lawyer at Graham Walker Solicitors. We have experience in these cases and have excellent results for clients. You may receive Legal Aid which means our services won’t cost you a penny.