AMBULANCE service staff are set to be wearing cameras on their uniform at the end of the month as part of a pilot scheme to crack down on abuse.

North West Ambulance Service bosses will be rolling out the system from March 31 and Central Manchester, East Lancashire and parts of Merseyside will be the first to use the new kit.

Medics will be able to press a button to record if a patient or member of the public becomes threatening or aggressive. The footage can then be used in court to aid prosecutions.

Paramedic Kristoffer Fairhurst, based in Burnley, will be amongst the first to use the cameras.

He said: “Sadly it is all too common for frontline staff to be subject to violence by the very people we are trying to help.

“I have worked for the ambulance service for 13 years and during that time I have been kicked, spat at, shouted at and even threatened with a knife.

“This should not be happening and I am hoping that these cameras will give us an extra level of protection to deter incidents of abuse as well as assist with prosecutions and make staff feel safer.”

In 2020, almost 400 incidents of physical assaults were reported against staff in the North West, a rise of 4 per cent since 2018 despite lockdown measures in place.

In addition, there were 1,061 incidents of verbal abuse or threatening behaviour reported.

Director of Operations Ged Blezard said: “Our staff work day in, day out to protect and care for their patients, they do not deserve to be subject to abuse and assaults.

“It’s a top priority for us to keep our staff safe and this is a huge step towards reducing violence and aggression against them. Not only will this aid in prosecutions of offenders but it is hoped to help de-escalate situations and avoid attacks from even taking place”

A dedicated violence and aggression group has been set up to proactively target frequent offenders and work with the police and partner agencies to put sanctions in place where possible.