South Wales firefighters first in country to trial body-worn video cameras


South Wales firefighters are the first in the country to trial body-worn video cameras. 

The pilot scheme will see firefighters using the devices to capture footage from live incidents for training, incident analysis, and fire investigation. 

Head of Training, Area Manager Dean Loader said: “The introduction of this new technology is a really positive innovation for us.

"Having these cameras will improve the way we collate situational awareness, carry out incident assessments and make command decisions.

Emergency workers are asking the public to treat them with respect and are encouraging people to 'work with us, not against us'. Credit: ITV Wales

"The cameras will play a crucial role in the service, from staff training on the front-line to the capture of evidence in rescues and other situations where public and staff safety is paramount.”

It's hoped the body-worn cameras will also help improve safety for crews and the community.

The service says they have seen a rise in assaults on emergency workers in Wales. 

In 2021, new data revealed more than 4,240 assaults were committed against emergency workers, including police, fire and ambulance crews, in the period April 2019 – November 2020, representing a monthly average increase from 202 in 2019 to 222 in 2020, or 10%.

Firefighter Lauren Jones said: "I've had stones thrown at myself and my crew at incidents and I think that many personnel within the fire service can also say they've been attacked at some point in their careers. 

"The cameras will definitely help myself and crews throughout South Wales feel safer."

Firefighters using the cameras will be fully trained and will announce they are recording, to inform people nearby that filming is taking place.

The information recorded will be encrypted for security and will only be viewed by authorised personnel.  

All data will be stored on a secure drive and will be date tagged and routinely deleted after a 60 day retention period in the majority of circumstances.

The trial will run for around 9 months and could be rolled out Service-wide if successful.