Mental health experts, the Crown Prosecution Service and police officers in Southwark are working together in a pilot scheme aiming to raise the number of successful prosecutions following assaults on emergency workers.
Operation Cavell will ensure senior investigators review all crimes against NHS workers over the next four months in Southwark, Lambeth, Bromley, Croydon and Sutton.
According to the Met, over the last three years the number of violent attacks in health and social care was three times as high as other industries.
Figures by Unison reveal that across the UK there were more than 56,000 physical assaults on NHS workers in the same period.
Michael Holland, the Maudsley and South London NHS Foundation Trust’s medical director, said: “Our staff should be able to come to work without fear of violence, injury, abuse or harassment.
“As an organisation, the safety, health and wellbeing of our colleagues is of paramount importance and I hope this valuable partnership work will help our staff feel safer and more supported.”
The trust’s local security management specialist, Simon Jackson, said that currently only seven per cent of those who commit physical assaults on health workers are prosecuted.
Chief Inspector Luke Mooney, who is leading the operation for the South Area Command Unit in collaboration with colleagues from the Central South Command Unit, said: “The Met has worked very hard recently to ensure assaults against officers are rigorously investigated and this has seen an increase in convictions.
“We want to bring the same support to assaults on NHS workers. We are liaising closely with the CPS and the NHS trusts concerned and together we are driving the project forward.
“Assaults on NHS staff are totally unacceptable, these are people dedicated to helping others and preventing harm.
“NHS workers are facing incredible challenges at the moment, they should not have to face the additional concern of abuse or assault.
“This operation is a way of showing these brave frontline workers that they are being supported.
“All those involved will be carefully monitoring the results and, just as importantly, seeking feedback from those affected.
“We want to make sure we learn the lessons, from either successes or failures, and ensure that continuous improvement is at the heart of this operation.”