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Body Worn Video Steering Group

Risky Business: Body Worn Video to Protect Front-line Workers?

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“Risky Business: Protecting Frontline Workers from Attack Whilst On Duty” is a recent report from the Greater London Authority which found that nearly 66,000 frontline workers were recipients of physical or verbal attacks in the past 3 years and looks at how body worn video can assist in reducing crimes against workers.

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Looking at attacks against transport workers, doctors, nurses, and ambulance crews data accessed through FOI requests indicate the scale of the problem. Attacks on London Underground staff ‘have remained consistently high’ says the report claiming ‘seven incidents every day’.

Furthermore, in the police sector over 22,000 attacks have occurred in the past 3 years whilst abuse against fire-fighters has risen to 49 incidents in the past 3 years, in stark contrast to the other emergency services. Speaking on the cost of workplace violence within Hospitals, Dr Peter Carter (Royal College of Nursing Chief Executive + General Secretary) said;

“With physical violence against employees estimated to cost the NHS £60.5 million a year, it is high time Trusts step up and look to invest more in prevention and protecting their staff from assaults in the first place.”

After outlining the current security measures in place across each of the areas looked at in this report body worn video is recommended as an additional step in order to protect staff, examining the costs and defining the benefits as such:

“The cost of a rollout of 100 body-worn cameras, with similar technology to those used by Staffordshire police, would be £66,000 – approximately half the average annual cost of sick days due to assault. With one or more cameras available in each of the LAS’s 70 ambulance stations, many of the dangerous call-outs would have surveillance available. Other distributions of the camera technology should also be trialled to fully test the viability of the technology in myriad circumstances, such as crews stationed at busy times on high streets, or during large public events in London.

If the pilot were to prove successful, 100 on-vehicle CCTV systems should be tested on ambulances. Using a similar pricing structure to East Midlands Ambulance Service, a trial of 100 vehicles would cost about
£40,000 – less than a third of the total yearly sick bill due to assault.

The total cost of the 200 CCTV camera pilot would be an estimated £106,000 – less than just one year of the annual £125,700 sick bill caused by violence. This report expects that both the wearable GPS devices, body and vehicle cameras would pay for themselves through the time saved in prosecution cases and by acting as a visible deterrent in the first instance.”

GLA Conservative crime spokesman Roger Evans said, “Video evidence from cameras would make it easier to report crimes, avoid disputes and shorten trials.”

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