July 23 2014 Latest news:
Lizzie Dearden, Senior reporter
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Havering’s London Assembly member is campaigning for paramedics to wear cameras to stop “disgraceful” attacks by drunks.
More than three assaults on average happen every day in London while ambulance staff are trying to treat patients, a report found.
They range from threats, verbal abuse and spitting to physical attacks, which are on the increase.
One paramedic’s finger was bitten by a drunk patient and another was attacked with a fence post.
There were 582 assaults in 2013 alone, up 23 per cent on the year before.
Roger Evans, the Conservative London Assembly member for Havering and Redbridge, believes body-worn cameras would be a deterrent.
He said: “In most cases it’s alcohol driven and we need to send a signal that it’s not appropriate.
“Ambulance staff are doing a dangerous and difficult job already and they don’t need to be confronted by idiots.”
A London-wide pilot of 100 cameras for paramedics and another 100 for inside ambulances is proposed, costing about £106,000.
London Ambulance Service director of operations Jason Killens said cameras had been considered before but staff believed it would undermine the trust between medics and patients.
Mr Evans said other ambulance services in Britain already using cameras had overcome similar concerns.