PARAMEDICS in the region are to trial wearing body cameras – as figures reveal attacks on ambulance staff have risen by almost a quarter in the last year.

West Midlands Ambulance Service, which runs services in Worcestershire, will hand out body worn cameras similar to those worn by police officers to paramedics and ambulance staff as part of a national trial.

Trust bosses have said it is “regrettable” that cameras are even being considered but hopes it will act as a deterrent.

Figures released by the ambulance trust show that paramedics were assaulted 80 times in February and March – up from 65 for the same period last year.

Verbal assaults, which includes threats and intimidation, saw an even bigger rise, rocketing by more than 60 per cent.

Mark Docherty, director for clinical commissioning at the trust, said the cameras might not stop people from attacking paramedics but would help prosecute anybody who did.

He said: “We sort of accept that the nature of our job means that we deal with people who are frightened and sometimes people are aggressive for reasons other than their own making, dementia for example.

“We accept we are working in a world where actually it’s not nice all the time but to have people deliberately being violent against our staff is just an unacceptable situation.

“I don’t know what it is, but something has changed in the last 30 years.

“It’s not unusual for people to throw bricks at windscreens. I don’t know why people would do that because that takes the vehicle off the road, often for a very significant period of time. So the very thing that we have got to help people, people are destroying.”

Mr Docherty said the ambulance trust fights for prison sentences for anybody who attacks any of its staff.

“It is regrettable because that in itself doesn’t stop the violence, it simply records the violence. Hopefully that results in a custodial sentence as that is what we really push for,” he told Worcestershire County Council’s health and overview scrutiny committee.

“Having better evidence will hopefully act as a deterrent to people that think they can just punch our staff. It is not acceptable.

“They’re doing their job.”