South West paramedics to wear bodycams in bid to curb attacks

Dan Williams and Kyiah Ellis were attacked by a man in Bath Credit: South Western Ambulance Service Foundation Trust

Ambulance crews across the South West are to start using body-worn cameras in an attempt to reduce violence and aggression.

South Western Ambulance service says there were 1,917 incidents of violence and aggression from patients and other members of the public during the 12 months up to 23 May 2021.

In April this year, a man from Bath was jailed after spitting in the eye of a paramedic who was trying to treat him, while crews say being spat at or coughed at by people claiming to have Covid-19 is becoming a regular occurrence.

Another shocking incident saw an ambulance crew attacked by a man with a knife on Christmas Day in Swindon.

While last year in Camelford, Cornwall, the public had to come to the aid of a paramedic as he was assaulted. The man responsible was given a suspended sentence.

Mike Jones thanked the members of public who came to his aid when he was attacked in Camelford Credit: South Western Ambulance Service

It is hoped the use of the body-cams will see a reduction in these types of incidents.

It comes after successful trials in London and the North West.

Paramedic Mike Jones, who is SWASFT’s Violence Reduction Lead, said: “We are delighted to be able to provide body-worn cameras to better protect all of our crews throughout the South West.

“Sadly our people continue to face a high and rising level of unacceptable behaviour while trying to provide emergency care to patients. This is having a profound and lasting impact on them, their colleagues and loved ones.

“We hope these cameras will deter many people from abusing our people, and know they could also help to prosecute those who do cause harm.

“They should also make our crews feel safer at work, and be able to do their jobs without fear of attack.

“Please respect our people, and help them to help you.”

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