SINGAPORE - The number of emergency responders from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) who were harassed last year in the course of their duties was the highest in the past six years.
Twenty-nine verbal and physical harassment cases were reported last year, said SCDF in a release on Friday (Feb 4).
This is up from 17 cases reported in 2020.
There were a total of 140 such cases, with an average of about 23 cases per year from 2016 to last year, SCDF said.
In July 2020, a patient became aggressive when an ambulance crew was about to conduct a medical assessment on him. He challenged a crew member to a fight, unzipped his pants to reveal his genitals and even urinated on the crew member's right boot. The man was sentenced to 12 months and three weeks in jail.
In September that year, a patient suddenly threw punches at an ambulance crew member, striking her on the chest. The patient, who also attempted to spit at her, faced eight months in jail.
And, in May last year, a patient shouted at an ambulance crew, kicked a crew member in the lower abdomen, kicked another crew member's leg and scratched a third crew member's arm. The patient faced five months and one week in jail.
Assistant Commissioner Yong Meng Wah, SCDF's director of emergency medical services, said: "By and large, members of the public deeply appreciate what our emergency responders do daily. Unfortunately, there is a minority who will verbally or even physically harass them."
He said this behaviour can hinder patients' pre-hospital care and much-needed medical intervention, adding that any form of harassment of SCDF's emergency responders will be reported to the police.