PARAMEDICS and other emergency workers will have greater protection, as a new law passed today.

The change in legislation makes certain offences aggravated when committed against emergency workers, giving courts the power to impose stronger sentences, doubling the maximum sentence for an assault against an emergency worker from 6 to 12 months in prison.

Tasha Starkey, 21 is a paramedic mentor for West Midlands Ambulance Service, she appeared in the BBC one documentary Ambulance.

Miss Starkey said: “It is a step in the right direction, it’s not the be all and end all as it still depends on judges and courts deciding on the best course of action for people who attack us, but it is definitely a good step.”

Miss Starkey said about paramedics getting assaulted by people they are trying to help: “It’s something very common. It’s happened to myself, and close friends.”

“Luckily I haven’t been assaulted that badly, the worst I’ve experienced is being spat at, but I’ve been pushed and shoved. I have a friend who was punched and had to have surgery and another friend who was assaulted and had a broken wrist after it.”

Miss Starkey said the thought of being attacked "never put her off" becoming a paramedic. “This is a dangerous job, you have to be very strong minded and resilient.”

Miss Starkey who has appeared on television shows This Morning on ITV and BBC Breakfast said there are several reasons that people become violent towards emergency staff. “Sometimes it’s because they have been waiting to long for an ambulance, sometimes it’s because they are drunk, sometimes it can be mental health related. Sometimes we get caught in the cross fire of domestic arguments. Usually it is alcohol related.”

In West Mercia, there have been 162 violent incidents against police officers and staff in the last quarter, equating to almost two every day. Commissioner John Campion said: “I have campaigned long and hard for these changes, and today’s law change is a mammoth step forward for all emergency workers. I am pleased to see the government taking this seriously. Not only will it protect police officers and other emergency workers but it will act as a deterrent."