Body cams for ambulance staff after rise in attacks
England’s ambulance trusts are expected to be given body cameras by the end of the month as assaults on ambulance workers rise by almost a third in five years.
The NHS is expecting to make body-worn camera equipment available to all 10 of England’s ambulance trusts by the end of the month, following an increase in attacks on ambulance workers.
BBC News reported that more than 3,500 attacks on emergency care staff were recorded last year. In 2018, SHP reported that 465 ambulances and their paramedics were to be issued with body cameras as part of an initial pilot.
Police officers in Humber, parking wardens in Yorkshire and recycling workers in Oxfordshire have all been issued with body cameras in recent years to help ensure their safety.
Earlier this year a scheme, known as Operation Cavell, a London-wide operation was launched to convict those who assault NHS staff.
This latest move has been welcomed by staff trialling the cameras, some of whom had experienced violence on the job.
Chief People Officer for NHS England Prerana Isaar told the BBC: “Every member of our dedicated and hardworking NHS staff has the fundamental right to be safe at work and it is our priority to eliminate violence and abuse, which we will not tolerate.”
Following an announcement last year, anyone who assaults or attacks emergency workers could face longer jail terms, following the announcement of a consultation on doubling the maximum penalty for the offence.
NHS England said the camera would start recording at the touch of a button, if members of the public became aggressive or abusive. Recordings can then be shared with the police and used in court as evidence.
NHS England Medical Director Steve Powis, told the BBC: “Initial trial findings show the cameras make staff feel safer, and can assist in de-escalating situations where staff are faced with someone being aggressive towards them.”
But in the North East Ambulance Service – one of the pilot areas along with the London Ambulance Service – assaults actually increased. The cameras were only trialled with small numbers of people, though.
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