Cameras to be fitted to ambulances to capture attacks on paramedics

DASH An ambulance on a 999 call
DASH An ambulance on a 999 call

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ASSAULTS on paramedics in Hampshire have gone up by more than 10 per cent in the past year.

From April 2010, there were 42 reported attacks on ambulance staff.

ON FILM One of the new cameras to record incidents

ON FILM One of the new cameras to record incidents

This was an increase of 13.5 per cent on the previous year when there were 37 incidents reported.

Hampshire has the highest number of recorded attacks in the south region compared with Berkshire (eight), Oxfordshire (nine) and Buckinghamshire (14), last year.

Now, in a bid to catch and deter culprits, new ambulances bought by South Central Ambulance Service will be fitted with cameras.

Panic strips are also being placed inside the vehicles, which once activated, will lock the previous 30 seconds of footage, and will then continue to record for the next two minutes.

Mark Ainsworth, area director for SCAS South, said: ‘It’s disappointing to see an increase in the number of assaults on ambulance personnel.

‘Our staff are in the community to help and assist those in need and should not become the target of verbal and physical abuse.’

‘We are doing all we can to protect staff,’ added Mark.

‘We’re doing this by intervening on calls where staff may be at risk and are also providing training for staff to recognise volatile situations.

‘We will pursue those who assault our staff through the courts.’

But of the 42 incidents reported last year, only 13 of the offenders received a penalty.

These ranged from police cautions to supervisory orders.

In a bid to catch criminals, new ambulances are being fitted with four cameras that will record any incidents.