An assault on a female paramedic working in the Sydney central business district on Sunday morning is part of a growing trend in which there was a 50 per cent rise in assaults on paramedics last year, the NSW Ambulance Service says.
The incident on George Street prompted the service's Inspector Ian Johns to condemn the growing violence against paramedics.
''When we're putting ourselves in these situations, we can't have them just swinging, punching, kicking, spitting. It's just not on,'' Inspector Johns said.
There were 133 assaults against paramedics last year, up from 89 in 2012, prompting Inspector Johns to warn there would be zero tolerance shown by his staff, and that perpetrators would be pursued through the legal system.
''There is inherent risk in the work we do and we can't mitigate it completely,'' he said.
''We do everything we can to look after our staff and put them in a safe environment but it is getting harder and harder.''
Inspector Norm Spalding, on duty at the time of the assault, said attacks on those who worked to keep late-night revellers safe were unacceptable.
''Society, in general, will not tolerate paramedics who are going about their business being attacked,'' he told the ABC on Sunday. ''This is another example of Sydney CBD being out of control. George Street is an extremely dangerous place for paramedics.''
Inspector Johns called on the public to take responsibility rather than relying on police or legislators, to stop violence before it happens.
''We can't flail our arms around and ask for someone to do something,'' he said. ''If our mate gets aggressive when he has one too many drinks, it is our responsibility to settle him down and send him on his way or take him home.''
The assault occurred when police attached to Operation Simmer were patrolling George Street, Haymarket.
They came across a 21-year-old man who they said was unresponsive and possibly intoxicated.
Paramedics from NSW Ambulance then attended to the man, who allegedly proceeded to strike one paramedic in the face, push her to the ground and kick her.
Police arrested the man after a short struggle.
The paramedic was taken to hospital for treatment and is recovering at home with wrist and back injuries and bruising to her face.
The man, from Plumpton, was taken to Sydney City police station and charged with common assault.
He was granted conditional bail to appear before the Downing Centre Local Court on February 24.
Operation Simmer is conducted in the city every weekend as part of a summer-long crackdown.
The story 'George Street is an extremely dangerous place': paramedics first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.