South West paramedic backs use of bodycams after patient attack

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A South Western Ambulance worker who was attacked by a patient says the introduction of body cameras for paramedics will help make responding to emergencies safer.

Shane Clarke - who was assaulted in October - says he hopes the cameras will help reduce the rising abuse and attacks against him and his colleagues.

He said: "I had a member of the public grab me around the throat and also tried to grab hold of my colleague as well.

"Unfortunately, we did not have the cameras back then."

Attacks on ambulance staff have more than doubled in the last year, so the South West Ambulance Trust has been rolling out the use of body worn cameras.

Shane added: "We've seen a 108% increase in violence and aggression towards our members and frontline ambulance staff, a lot of it has been because of Covid attitudes changing.

"Some of it is verbal but unfortunately a lot of it is physical."

There have previously been campaigns to reduce verbal and physical attacks on medical staff, but Shane hopes the cameras will make a difference.

"It's very scary, especially when you're not expecting it," he added.

"It's one of the reasons we have a 30 second loop on our camera so that when there's an incident, we can capture that as well.

"We mustn't forget this isn't just young people, sometimes this is your 40,50 or 60 year-old people.

"It's not just the young intoxicated drunk people on a Friday and Saturday night."