By: Chandrashekar Bhat
A paramedic who was sexually assaulted by a patient in London has spoken out about her ‘sickening’ experience and urged people to report offensive behaviours to seek justice.
Ilford resident Naveed Ahmed, 35, who groped London Ambulance Service (LAS) paramedic Charlotte Miller and exposed himself was jailed for nine months in November last year.
Miller who has now given up her right to anonymity said the sexual assault on her took place on Edgware Road in October when she and her crewmate were encouraging Ahmed to get into the ambulance so that they could assess him.
“But he grabbed my crotch and tried to grab me again. Then he pulled his pants down,” she said.
“I couldn’t believe it, I was asking myself if it really happened. I was frightened and scared. I think the reason I was so shocked was that it was so unexpected – I was there to help him,” Miller said recalling the horrifying incident which was caught on an ambulance camera.
As she called the police on her radio moments after the assault, officers arrived within a minute and arrested Ahmed.
She said the “sickening and disgusting” incident made “us feel quite vulnerable”.
“But I would urge everyone to report these things because I was well supported by my management team and by the police,” the paramedic said.
“It’s only by reporting this sort of behaviour and helping police to prosecute that the message will get through that there are serious consequences,” she said.
A total of 49 sexual assaults on LAS staff or volunteers were reported in 2022.
There were a further 516 physical assaults, including kicking, head-butting, punching and attacks with a weapon. Some 601 incidents of verbal abuse or threats of violence were also reported during the year.
The service, part of the NHS, has spent more than £3 million to equip its ambulances with video cameras to protect its crew members. Footage from the cameras has become useful in prosecutions, with 92 submissions of video evidence made since April 2022.
LSA chief paramedic John Martin said ambulance crew and call handlers, who “come to work each day to help others”, should be able to work without fear of violence, sexual violence or threats.
The service would do everything it could to keep them safe and ensure they “are treated with the respect they deserve,” Martin said.
LAS joined the countrywide “Work Without Fear” campaign to promote a no-violence culture and help create a safer work environment for front-line staff and volunteers.