A martial arts expert is offering free self-defence classes to ambulance workers.
Mark Davies, who runs the BEST Defence martial arts studio in Arbroath, said he wanted to equip medics with the skills to protect themselves against the backdrop of a rising number of attacks in Tayside and Fife.
Mr Davies spoke out after figures revealed more than 260 assaults were committed against Scottish Ambulance Staff in the East Central Scottish region over the past six years.
A total of 1,889 assaults on mercy crews were recorded across Scotland in the same period – almost one a day.
Mr Davies, who trains elements of UK special forces in close combat and spent 22 years working as a door supervisor, said no one should face the threat of violence when they were at work – and especially not when they were trying help others.
He said: “I know a lot of emergency services personnel, and from the discussions I have had with them, these assaults are not a new phenomenon, they have always happened.
“The difference is, and I know this first hand from my time on the doors in some fairly inhospitable areas, that as a society, we are much more willing to increase the severity of the violence more quickly.”
He said physical confrontations used to be more of a rarity and were far less likely to result in serious injuries. However, in the late 80s and early 90s, attitudes shifted and the level of violence escalated very quickly.
“Items such as bottles and glasses were increasingly used, although one thing I would say is a constant is that alcohol is behind a lot of it,” he added.
Mr Davies said ambulance staff were in a difficult position because they have a duty of care to their patients. He knows one female paramedic who was assaulted twice in one month.
He said: “I’m not trying to turn ambulance staff into steely-eyed assassins, but to simply equip them with the techniques to defend themselves against the most common types of assault.
“I can do this either on a one to one basis or in small groups, but I do think the Scottish Ambulance Service needs to review their systems to ensure their staff are equipped to deal with these situations.”
A spokesman for the Scottish Ambulance Service said: “We take a zero tolerance approach to assaults on staff and would like to thank this gentleman for his generous offer. We do train staff to deal with potentially violent situations and keep this under regular review.”