REVEALED: The extreme lengths paramedics are taking to stop them being used as ‘punching bags’ by aggressive patients
- A new pilot program will deploy 60 bodycams on NSW Ambulance officers
- It is part of NSW government investment to improve conditions for paramedics
- The government will also recruit further 221 paramedics to join ambulance ranks
Body cameras will be worn by some paramedics in an effort to improve the safety of the first-responders who often have to deal with aggressive members of the public.
Ambulance officers from Liverpool, Sydney Ambulance Centre at Eveleigh, and Hamilton in Newcastle will be part of the year long trial of the cameras.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard hopes the devices will deter members of the public from treating paramedics as a ‘punching bag’.
‘We need to look after the people who look after us and if this technology can help deter abuse and assaults against frontline paramedics, we need to give it go,’ he said.
Body cameras will be worn by some paramedics in an effort to improve the safety of the first-responders who often have to deal with aggressive members of the public (file image)
‘Hopefully, agitated individuals will modify their behaviour when they realise their actions are being recorded because our paramedics are not a punching bag for anyone’s frustration.
‘Assaults carry heavy penalties and, if needed, bodycam footage will be used as evidence when prosecuting people.’
The body camera pilot program follows additional NSW Government reforms and a $24million technology upgrade to improve paramedic’s safety.
These measure include new in-vehicle radios, upgrade of mobile data location technology, and high tech smartphones to overcome radio signal issues.
NSW Ambulance Chief Executive Dr Dominic Morgan said about 60 bodycams will be deployed in the pilot program.
‘When the idea of body cameras was raised at the paramedic roundtable, the NSW Government listened and worked with us to introduce the technology,’ Dr Morgan said.
‘The cameras will be another set of eyes for our paramedics and in addition to hopefully deterring abuse, there is scope to use them for training purposes further down the line.’
The NSW government is also employing an extra 221 paramedics to boost the overloaded workforce.
It is part of a record $1billion investment by the government into improving the NSW Ambulance service.
The body camera pilot program follows additional NSW Government reforms introduced to improve paramedic’s safety (file image)