Plans to issue firefighters in West Yorkshire with body-worn cameras after attacks on crews could be given the go-ahead.
The Executive Committee of West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service will decide at a meeting tomorrow (Wed) whether to purchase six body-worn video devices to be used on a trial basis at the stations which have seen the most attacks – Fairweather Green and Odsal in Bradford, and Leeds.
West Yorkshire Fire Service recorded almost 200 attacks on firefighters in the last three years and is considering deploying the devices which could act as a deterrent and record evidence for convicting offenders.
Latest figures show there have been nine reported attacks on Kirklees firefighters in the same period. Five separate attacks on fire crews were recorded on Halloween night alone.
West Yorkshire Fire Brigades Union has supported the national union’s view that body-worn camera footage is “worthless” because the majority of offenders have their faces covered.
It says the money – the trial will cost £3,528 – would be better spent on updated ‘conflict management training.’
A report to the committee says: “The approach to reducing these attacks is multi-faceted, and no single intervention is likely to solve the problem.
“Safety of our staff at operational incidents is paramount, and a trial of body-worn video devices will provide an evidence base of the success, or otherwise, of such an intervention.”
If the trial proves a success there will be further consultation before the cameras are issued to all firefighters.