'He threatened to rape my family and murder me' - 999 call handlers subjected to vile abuse

Ambulance service call handlers have been threatened with rape and murder while trying to help people, they have revealed.

West Midlands Ambulance Service
West Midlands Ambulance Service

The Staffordshire-based 999 workers, who have not been named, volunteered to speak out after being subjected to numerous incidents of abuse.

West Midlands Ambulance Service says the call handlers play a crucial part in getting help to the most seriously ill and injured throughout Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

Now two of them have described the abuse they have received from a minority of callers, as part of the county’s Together Against Abuse campaign.

One man demanded an ambulance from a female call handler while she was working a night shift.

Listen to the call handlers describe their experience of abuse:

"He threatened to rape my family, find out where I live and try to murder me,” she said.

“It makes me feel anxious, angry as you are trying to help people.

“I feel since the pandemic it has got slightly worse.”

A male call handler added: “I had a gentleman threaten to kill myself and my family.

“He started to really become quite violent towards me.

“For about the next two minutes he was swearing at me, being very aggressive. He did actually threaten to kill me.

“I try to take things not too personally but the gentleman who threatened to kill me and my family - he did get to me.”

The call handlers describe how the abusive calls affect their work.

“If you get an abusive call it can then make you anxious for the next call and put you on edge that it will be the same,” said the woman.

The police and ambulance service health authority are emphasising how important these staff are in serving the community.

Mark Ward, superintendent at Staffordshire Police, said: “Unfortunately, there have been incidents where emergency workers have been subjected to threats.

“At a time when the NHS is under more pressure than at any time in its history, this kind of behaviour is despicable.

“While these are isolated incidents, attacks on emergency services workers will never be tolerated and those responsible will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Dr Steve Fawcett, medical director for the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent NHS CCGs said: “These call handlers are a vital link in the chain that saves lives every single day.

“I’d like to thank them for their fortitude and remind everyone that it’s a person on the other end of the phone.

“Please speak to them how you would like you and your loved ones to be spoken to, because we can’t afford to lose them.”

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