The trial will start in Atherstone with crews wearing the body worn cameras to any incidents they attend. The cameras won’t always be used but will be activated if and when crews come across abusive or aggressive behavior. If the pilot is successful, the scheme could then be rolled out across the service. Any recording not used as evidence will be automatically deleted after 30 days.
Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer, Kieran Amos said
“Unfortunately, the levels of violence against emergency service workers is on the increase and although attacks on Warwickshire firefighters remain low, the incidents that have occurred have been quite serious. The most recent incident involved firefighters from Atherstone being attacked and threatened by a large group of young people, some of whom were carrying knives.
“Clearly these types of incidents are unacceptable, and we have some work to do within the local community. However, we must take every possible measure to ensure that our firefighters are safe when carrying out their role, protecting local communities.
“The cameras, which are also used by many police officers across the country, will record any physical or verbal abuse experienced our firefighters. We believe that they will act as a deterrent and will also capture evidence to help us to work with other agencies to prosecute when necessary to the full extent of the law.”
Cllr Andy Crump, Warwickshire County Council portfolio holder for fire and community safety, said: “Firefighters play a key role in protecting our communities and I welcome any initiative that helps to make them safer. The body worn cameras, which can record and save video and audio footage when they are triggered to do so, will be worn by fully-trained, operational staff at incidents to capture any abuse against firefighters who are undertaking their role. I am sure that the cameras will be a valuable resource to support learning and development and, ultimately, firefighter and public safety.”
For more information on Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service visit https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/fireandrescue