Croydon Ambulance Station crew member Gary Watson is one of the first to wear a body camera.

Thousands of ambulance crews across England will be provided with body cameras as part of a crackdown by the National Health Service (NHS) to reduce attacks on staff, and the measure comes alongside data which revealed that 3,569 ambulance staff were physically assaulted by the public last year – 30% more than five years ago.

Following successful trials in London and the North East, the NHS in England will roll out the cameras to crews in the 10 ambulance trusts across the country – three years ahead of the NHS Long Term Plan target.

Medics will wear the cameras and be able to press a button to start recording if patients or the public become aggressive or abusive, with filming made available to police where needed. The announcement follows the launch of the first ever national Violence Prevention and Reduction Standard at the start of the year, with every NHS trust in the country expected to publish a plan to tackle violence towards staff.

Prerana Isaar, Chief People Officer for the NHS, said: “Every member of our dedicated and hardworking NHS staff has the fundamental right to be safe at work and it is our priority to eliminate violence and abuse, which we will not tolerate.

“As well as reducing the number of incidents towards our staff, these cameras are a vital step towards ensuring our people feel safe too. The fact that we are rolling them out to all ten ambulance trusts three years ahead of schedule is testament to our commitment to tackling this problem and is nothing less than our staff deserve.”

Initial trial findings have shown that the cameras make staff feel safer and can assist in de-escalating situations where they’re faced with someone being aggressive towards them.