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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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Watch amazing time lapse as new Town Hall comes to life in Crawley

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A time lapse video of the new Town Hall has been released by Crawley Borough Council, condensing 10 months of construction into just 100 seconds.

The video, which can be viewed here, shows the empty site transformed into a striking nine-storey building. Crawley Borough Council will occupy the bottom 3.5 floors and rent out commercial space on the upper floors.

The name of the commercial space will be The Create Building. The available floor space is between 14,000 sq ft and 77,000 sq ft and Crawley-based SHW are marketing this on behalf of the council. For more information visit shw.co.uk/crawley

The landmark building, which is expected to be ready for occupation in February 2022, is part of a wider regeneration scheme at the eastern end of The Boulevard in Crawley town centre.

The scheme also includes 273 flats (of which 109 will be affordable), a new public square, public realm improvements, ground floor commercial space for a restaurant/café and district energy centre. It is a joint development between Crawley Borough Council and Westrock.

The entire redevelopment is transforming a major town centre opportunity site. The new Town Hall will:

  • Secure the council’s finances through the ability to generate new revenue from commercial office tenants whilst achieving significant savings on the council’s current running costs
  • Provide a better, fit-for-purpose building for customers, staff and councillors
  • Contribute to achieving the council’s wider ambitions around affordable housing, post-Covid economic recovery, and tackling climate change.

Councillor Peter Lamb, Leader of Crawley Borough Council, said: “We are facing enormous challenges as a town: financial, as we are forced to keep doing more with less; social, as we struggle with a housing crisis decades in the making; and environmental, as we need to move quickly to zero-carbon to avoid climate catastrophe. The redevelopment of the Town Hall site is a vital part of Crawley’s efforts to meet all three challenges.” For more information visit investcrawley.co.uk/town-hall

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