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Paramedics could get body-worn video cameras

Paramedics could get body-worn video cameras

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 7:01am 28th September 2019. (Updated at 8:09am 28th September 2019)

Ambulance crews in Cornwall could wear body-worn video cameras to help protect themselves against violence and aggression.

South Western Ambulance Service crews in Plymouth, Exeter and Bristol will trial the technology, which will likely then be rolled out to the Duchy.

The three-month trial starting on Tuesday 1st October.

The use of cameras is intended to deter abuse and obtain evidence of offences against our ambulance crews.  

There were 1,285 recorded incidents of violent or aggressive behaviour towards SWASFT staff between August 2018 and August 2019, which is an increase of 24% compared to the previous year.

ambulance - body worn cameras

"Like all our emergency services colleagues, our crews and control staff work in extremely difficult circumstances. 

They are often under threat of attack or abuse, and staff members are assaulted every day. That is totally unacceptable.

"We want to take every possible measure to ensure our employees are safe at work.

"Using body worn video cameras will discourage people from abusing and assaulting our staff. They will also enable us to provide evidence of abuse or assaults when they do happen so the police can bring more prosecutions against people who assault our staff."

Ken Wenman, Chief Executive of SWASFT

Any recording not used as evidence will be automatically deleted after 30 days.

Emergency services across the South West launched the #Unacceptable campaign in October 2018 to highlight the increasing levels of abuse against crews and control room staff. 

ambulance - body worn cameras

The NHS Violence Reduction Strategy 2018 aims to reduce the number of assaults by giving staff more training to deal with violent situations and prosecuting offenders more quickly.

The Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018 means those found guilty of attacking emergency services staff can be given a maximum prison sentence of 12 months. Those convicted of more serious cases of assault emergency workers can face up to two years in prison.

A recently study published by West London NHS Trust showed the wearing of the cameras led to a reduction in the seriousness of aggression and violence in reported incidents and modified patient behaviour in a positive way.

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