West Midlands Ambulance Service staff to get body-worn cameras

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A police officer with a body worn camera
Image caption,
Some police officers wear body-worn cameras

Ambulance staff across Shropshire will receive 126 new body-worn cameras, as part of a region-wide trial aimed at reducing assaults.

The cameras will be distributed among 15 hubs based on their ambulance output and the number of reported physical and verbal assaults.

West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) has bought 1,246 new cameras in total.

The WMAS' head of safety and security, John Kelly, said wearing them will be voluntary.

Mr Kelly told WMAS directors that 1,230 "violence and aggression incidents" were reported by crews between April 2020 and January 2021, with the team based at Willenhall, near Walsall, recording the most with 189.

NHS England has provided £920,000 towards the scheme.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Between last April and January 2021 there were 453 physical assaults reported against WMAS staff

Mr Kelly said in report the use of body-worn video at WMAS began in September 2019, when 30 cameras were provided on a free trial basis and they were used by teams based at WMAS's Dudley, Erdington and Hollymore hubs.

The trust's board of directors will discuss Mr Kelly's report when it meets remotely on Wednesday, with the cameras being distributed from 1 May onwards, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Between last April and January 2021 there were 453 physical assaults reported against WMAS staff.

In the same period 777 verbal assaults were reported across the region.

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