Bradford South MP Judith Cummins gave her wholehearted support to the Assaults on Emergency Workers bill in Parliament on Friday (27) – as she detailed a shocking incident in which a fire car she was travelling in came under attack.
Ms Cummins told MPs that emergency service workers “deserve our utmost respect and the full protection of our laws” as she spoke in favour of the Private Member’s Bill.
Last year, Ms Cummins joined West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and West Yorkshire Police the night before Bonfire Night.
“There were two incidents where I saw first-hand the danger from attack our firefighters and police officers face,” Ms Cummins told the House.
In one instance, the group was approached by a number of intimidating masked people after being called to reports of a burning mattress.
“It is not uncommon for a fire to be set with the intention of luring firefighters and police officers into a dangerous situation in order to ambush them,” Ms Cummins said. “This appalling fact will shock us all, and is a vivid reminder of just how necessary this Bill is.”
In a second incident, they were called to a large fire made of mattresses, plastic sofas and other hazardous items.
“Stood around the fire were about twenty young people. We were chatting to them when someone threw a firework into the fire,” Judith told MPs. “I was promptly ordered back into the car.”
“Whilst we were walking away we were fired at with rockets placed in a plastic tube. The officer I was with sustained burn injuries across his head. The rockets continued to be launched at us in the car. We escaped without any further injuries, but the situation could have been so much worse.
“I was shocked and scared. But this is an everyday occurrence for our firefighters, police officers and emergency workers.
“One firefighter told me that his wife never sleeps when he works nights. I asked what the worst thing that had been thrown at him was. He told me he had once been attacked by youths throwing excrement in glass jars at him and the crew.”
The bill passed unanimously at its third reading on Friday afternoon and will now undergo further scrutiny in the House of Lords.
Emergency service staff all too frequently come under attack in Bradford. Earlier this month firefighters had to withdraw from attending a fire in Horton Park after they came under attack from a gang of youths throwing missiles.