Ambulance staff in Northamptonshire will now wear body cams due to increased assault incidents
More than 1,000 cases of assault were reported by ambulance staff in the last 12 months
Ambulance staff across Northamptonshire and the rest of the region will now wear body cameras while on shift due to an increase in the number of assault incidents.
East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) ambulance crews will wear the cameras throughout their shift and can press a button to start recording if patients or the public became aggressive or abusive, with footage made available to police where needed, to assist with prosecutions.
The move comes recommended by NHS England after successful trials in London and the North East.
Body cams will now be rolled out to all ten ambulance services across the country.
Richard Henderson, chief executive at EMAS, said: “Violence and aggression towards ambulance staff has always been, and will always be, absolutely unacceptable.
“Our colleagues come to work to help people in their hour of need, not to be abused or assaulted.
“We are pleased to see the funding of body-worn cameras by NHS England and look forward to rolling them out to frontline colleagues across our region.
“We hope these cameras will help to protect our colleagues when responding to patients by acting as a deterrent and de-escalating situations, but in the disappointing event that a staff member experiences violence or aggression, we will have footage of the incident to assist in securing a successful prosecution of the offender.”
In 2020/21, EMAS staff reported 1,048 incidents of assault of a physical, verbal, sexual or racial nature.
This is an increase of more than 300 incidents compared to 2016/17 where there were 708 incidents reported.
Prerana Isaar, chief people officer for the NHS added: “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.
“As well as reducing the number of incidents towards our staff, these cameras are a vital step towards ensuring our people feel safe too.
“The fact that we are rolling them out to all ten ambulance trusts three years ahead of schedule is testament to our commitment to tackling this problem and is nothing less than our staff deserve.”