SINGAPORE - Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officers are being subjected to vulgarities, threats and even physical violence in the course of their duty.
The SCDF revealed on Thursday (Dec 13) that 26 cases of frontline officers being abused have been reported so far this year, up from 23 in the whole of last year.
The upward trend began in 2016 when 20 abuse cases were reported.
Paramedic Sergeant Jeremy Liang was put in a headlock by a patient who also tried to throw a punch at another member of his ambulance crew, after they found the patient on the ground near a Punggol condominium in January last year.
"While we were taking their blood pressure (inside the ambulance) they initiated a punch, but he didn't succeed" said Sgt Liang, 32, who suffered some neck pain as they rushed the person to hospital. "No matter what, they are still my patient."
The patient was later jailed for three months.
Emergency Medical Technician Corporal Timothy Chua, had a packet of rice thrown at him in an ambulance while a full-time national serviceman in October last year.
The patient also threatened him with his walking stick while hurling vulgarities and was later sentenced to 10 weeks in jail.
"This is the more extreme case (of abuse), but it's a minority," said Cpl Chua, 24.
SCDF director of operations Daniel Seet said the organisation takes a "zero-tolerance" approach when it comes to abuse towards officers and would not hesitate to report the perpetrators to police.
"While most people appreciate what we do, there is unfortunately a minority that will physically or verbally abuse our front-liners," he said. "The SCDF will strive to protect our officers against such unacceptable behaviour, which hinders them from carrying out their duties and can delay medical treatment of patients."