NHS England have invested one million pounds for body cameras for frontline emergency staff in the West Midlands, after 3,343 assaults in the last year.

Between 2020 and 2021, West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) paramedics suffered 1,162 physical attacks and a further 2,181 accounts of verbal abuse. WMAS ran a pilot using 30 cameras in the autumn of 2019 which fed into the decision to officially roll out 1,288 units

Trust Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “The safety of my staff is of paramount importance to me. If they are injured, they are not available to respond to patients.The cameras will allow staff to record incidents where they feel at risk with any recordings being able to be given in evidence should an actual assault occur”.

All ambulance staff will be able to wear the cameras while they are on shift, however they will only be switched on if the public become aggressive.

Mr Marsh said: “Hopefully, they will never have to be used, but if they are, the evidence will hopefully increase the rate of successful prosecutions and subsequent sentencing. All too often my staff feel let down by the judicial system and this important step will help to redress that situation.”

The rate of physical attacks have increased by 60% within the last five years according to official figures, while verbal assaults have more than doubled.

Neil Vann, paramedic with the service, was knocked unconscious by a patient who he was trying to help. He said: “The cameras are there to protect us in case things turn nasty. I hope I never have to switch it on, but given what happened to me, it is nice to know that I have the chance to record what happened so that a court can see. I feel sure that had I had a camera when I was assaulted, my assailant might have thought twice about attacking me".