South Western Ambulance Service to trial body-worn video cameras

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) will begin a three-month trial of body-worn video cameras, starting on 1 October, to assess the extent to which they can deter abuse and their effectiveness when obtaining evidence of offences against its ambulance crews.

Crews in Exeter, Plymouth and Bristol will wear the cameras (the Edesix VB-300, supplied by Motorola Solutions) during the trial and if it is successfully, they could be rolled out across the Trust. Any recording not used as evidence will be automatically deleted after 30 days.

There were 1,285 recorded incidents of violent or aggressive behaviour towards SWASFT staff between August 2018 and August 2019, up 24 per cent compared with the previous year.

A recently study published by West London NHS Trust showed that the wearing of body-worn video cameras led to a reduction in the seriousness of aggression and violence in reported incidents and modified patient behaviour in a positive way.

Ken Wenman, SWASFT’s chief executive, said: “Like all our emergency services colleagues, our crews and control staff work in extremely difficult circumstances. They are often under threat of attack or abuse, and staff members are assaulted every day. That is totally unacceptable.

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