The national health service security management service (SMS) was created in 2003, with responsibility for leading on security management work within the NHS. A network of local security management specialists, supported nationally by the SMS, addresses proactive and reactive security needs.
In April 2004, conflict resolution training was introduced for frontline NHS staff. This enables staff to recognise and defuse potential violence. By 31 March 2008 428,000 frontline staff had received this training.
In 2007-08, 10,983 physical assaults against NHS staff and 472 criminal sanctions following assaults were reported in the acute sector.
The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 creates an offence of causing nuisance or disturbance in NHS hospitals and gives trusts the power to remove people suspected of committing the offence from the premises, preventing incidents from escalating into violence. Those convicted of the new offence could face prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000. Guidance on the use of these powers is being prepared and, following a public consultation, the legislation will be commenced and trusts will be able to use these powers.