London ambulance worker arrested for alleged sexual offences with a child after vigilante group sting

A London ambulance service worker has been arrested for an alleged sexual offence involving a child after a vigilante group sting, The Independent has learned.

Police said the worker was taken into custody on 17 March following claims of “sexual communications” with a child.

He has been bailed until June pending further inquiries, the Metropolitan Police said.

London Ambulance Service confirmed that a staff member who doesn’t work with patients was arrested last week, adding: “He has been suspended while police make enquiries and it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

The arrest comes after videos seen by The Independent, show a vigilante group cornering the worker just before he is arrested.

Vigilante groups seeking to string potential sex offenders have previously caused controversy with fears their tactics could jeopardise criminal proceedings.

New guidelines for judges last year could mean paedophiles who are caught in sting operations while trying to meet child victims could receive longer prison sentences.

The latest figures, revealed by The Independent showed that between 2019 and December 2022, 68 paramedics were sanctioned by the professional regulator the Health and Care Practioner’s council in relation to sexual offences. Of these, 16 were sanctioned for sexually abusing child patients and 12 for abuse of a child who wasn’t a patient.

NHS watchdog officials have warned that emergency patients are being left open to abuse when they are at their most vulnerable because of a lack of vetting of ambulance workers.

In the past two years, 22 ambulance workers have faced action for sexual assault, and the abuse of colleagues, patients and children. NHS Health and Care Professions Council figures showed paramedics accounted for 84 of the 293 cases in which action was taken over sexual assault or abuse across all professions between 2012 and 2021 – the highest proportion of any care profession.

One of the most high-profile offenders was Andrew Wheeler, who was jailed in 2021 after he raped a patient in her home and sexually assaulted another in the back of an ambulance.

Last month, the NHS’ whistleblowing office warned staff in NHS Ambulance services have a “fear of speaking up” amid pervasive “cliquey”, sexist, racist and homophobic cultures.

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