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Paramedics issued body cams after surge in violent attacks

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Paramedics in London have started wearing body cameras after a 34% jump in the number of violent attacks on ambulance crews.

A trial of the technology is being rolled out across the capital in areas where workers are thought to be more at risk based on past incidents.

Paramedics can press a button to start recording if patients or the public become aggressive or abusive towards them.

London Ambulance Service told The Independent there had been an increase in physical assaults in recent years. Attacks jumped from 468 in the financial year 2018-19 to 625 in the year 2019-20, a 34% rise.

Gary Watson, based at Croydon Ambulance Station, will be one of the first staff members to wear a camera. He was violently assaulted by a drunk patient three years ago.

He said: “We need these cameras. We get up every day to help people, not to be severely beaten.

“Wearing these cameras should act as a deterrent and if it doesn’t then at least there will be evidence which will hopefully mean tougher sentences for criminals.”

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Source: The Independent, 23 February 2021

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