GOTCHA: the new cameras to be rolled out in Melbourne
A new trial is being launched in a bid to keep paramedics safe from violence during emergencies.
On Wednesday the Andrews government unveiled the $500,000 program, funding 150 body cameras for healthcare workers in Melbourne's CBD and western suburbs.
The test will run for six months with around 550 emergency officers expected to make use of the devices, which are similar to those currently worn by police.
They'll be progressively rolled out across June and July to 27 branches, St Vincents and Epsworth hospitals, as well as Point Cook Branch and Sunbury Branch.
"The activation of the camera is very much at the discretion of the individual paramedic," says Ambulance Victoria Spokesman Tony Walker. "They can do so where they feel that they're at particular risk, both to identify a deterrence and to capture the information to assist with prosecution."
Last financial year paramedics attended more than 5,000 emergencies where they were exposed to violence or aggression – a startling average of around 13 incidents per day.
It comes in the wake of a community awareness campaign (shown below) recently launched by the state government condemning violence against paramedics.
Minister for Ambulance Services Jill Hennessy believes the cameras will be an invaluable asset during volatile situations.
"Hardworking paramedics care for us at our most vulnerable and save lives," she said. "They deserve to feel safe and respected at work."
Premier Daniel Andrews says they're coming down hard on anyone who carries out a disgraceful attack.
“We’re sending a strong message – violence and aggression towards paramedics is never OK.”