A three-way agreement has been signed between NHS Protect, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to curb violence and anti-social behaviour in the NHS. The Joint Working Agreement will promote and support local arrangements and seek to implement best practice.

Through the agreement, NHS Protect, ACPO and CPS have agreed that there is strong public interest in prosecuting those who assault NHS staff or commit offences that disrupt NHS services. All parties will encourage individual police services, CPS areas and NHS bodies to seek the strongest possible action against offenders.

Richard Hampton, Head of Local Support and Development Services at NHS Protect, said: “This welcome agreement ensures that the commitment made at the top of our three organisations is put into practice locally, so that we act together to support NHS staff, who have a right to a safe and secure working environment. Violence and abuse against them is highly disruptive for the delivery of treatment to patients and cannot be tolerated.”

Chief Constable Brian Moore, ACPO Lead for Violence and Public Protection, commented: “We are committed to working together as a three-way partnership to facilitate exchanging information and good practice in securing NHS property and assets. We will also share ideas on potential weaknesses in systems and controls. Though each organisation has a distinct remit, their roles do overlap, and we will work to support each other more effectively.”

Pam Bowen, Senior Policy Advisor at CPS, added: “NHS staff do a very difficult job in challenging circumstances. If they are subjected to abuse or violence during the course of their work they deserve to know that offenders will be prosecuted wherever possible. This agreement should reassure healthcare workers across England that such abuse will not be tolerated and that their own welfare is just as important as that of the patients they treat.”