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SECAmb to trial body-worn cameras to help tackle assaults against staff

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South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) is to trial the use of body worn cameras by ambulance crews to establish if the technology can act as a deterrent against aggression and violence and aid future prosecutions.

The trial, which will last 12 months, is expected to begin in the coming weeks and follows the Trust’s successful application for funding from NHS England and NHS Improvement.

The trial will involve approximately 400 body worn cameras being used by crews across five areas covered by the Trust – Thanet, Medway, Gatwick, Brighton and Guildford.

The trial also forms part of a wider trust approach to tackle violence and aggression against staff which includes close working with police services to ensure all incidents are robustly managed alongside conflict resolution training for staff. The trial will feed into wider national work already under way to ensure the Trust benefits from trials which are already taking place elsewhere in the country.

In 2019-2020, SECAmb staff reported 245 incidents of physical assault. In the same year, staff reported 219 incidents of directed verbal abuse. Staff are encouraged to report all incidents so that they can be investigated and wherever possible the individual prosecuted and held to account for their actions.

Executive Director of Operations, Emma Williams, said:

“One assault against a member of staff is one too many. Our staff should expect to be able to come to work and care for people without the risk of violence or abuse. Sadly, there are a small number of individuals who seem to think this kind of behaviour is acceptable.

“We are keen to establish if body-worn cameras can help to further protect our staff by acting as a deterrent and also provide valuable evidence for use in court. We will study the findings of the trial closely and also continue to work with police colleagues across our region and ambulance services nationally to tackle this issue that the huge majority of the public find abhorrent.”

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Jordan Bellamy from Crawley sought for recall to prison

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Police in West Sussex are searching for 28-year-old Jordan Bellamy from Crawley, as the Probation Service require his arrest and recall to prison for breaching his release licence conditions.

Bellamy, who is white, 5’10″, of stocky build with brown hair and brown eyeswas released from prison on licence earlier in September part way through a 30-month sentence for coercive and controlling behaviour in an intimate relationship.

Enquiries are being made in the Crawley and Brighton areas and anyone who sees Bellamy or knows of his whereabouts is asked not to approach him but to contact Sussex Police via 999 or 101, quoting serial 49 of 04/09.

You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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