February 13, 2024
Body-worn cameras are increasingly being issued to staff at risk of violence and aggression, providing a visible deterrent to potential aggressors and a means of reassuring vulnerable employees. Here at HALO, the main industry categories that we supply include retail, transport, public and private security and the police force. However, we are always looking to expand our clientele and wish to benefit every industry possible from body-worn cameras, including the unexpected ones.
For the last two decades, police forces around the globe have led the adoption of body-worn cameras. The movement gained significant momentum in 2016 following a study by Cambridge University, which revealed a dramatic 93 percent reduction in public complaints against officers using this technology. This finding not only underscored the effectiveness of body cameras in enhancing public safety and accountability but also sparked curiosity across various other industries, recognizing the potential for such technology to safeguard workers and the general public alike.
Aside from the obvious contenders such as law enforcement, retail security, private security and transport security body cameras have the power to be utilised by a vast number of professions such as healthcare professionals, delivery drivers, traffic wardens, airport security and prison officers.
HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS: Nurses and healthcare professionals frequently encounter precarious situations, especially in emergency departments or psychiatric units, where their safety is often at risk. In recent years, there has been a notable surge in incidents of abuse directed towards frontline National Health Service (NHS) workers. This concerning trend has prompted hospitasl to take proactive measures, pledging to equip staff with body cameras to preempt assaults and aggression, reflecting the sobering reality for many healthcare workers who admit to entering their workplace with a sense of apprehension, anticipating potential harm.
A recent YouGov survey unveils the alarming prevalence of violence and aggression reported by frontline healthcare workers. Shockingly, three in 10 (30%) NHS staff who engage with patients disclose experiencing violence from a patient at least once annually, with one in 20 (5%) enduring attacks on a weekly basis. Additionally, 15% report encountering violence from a patient's family member at least once a year.
In response to these distressing findings, the implementation of body cameras emerges as a promising solution to deter violence towards healthcare workers and provide vital evidence in the event of incidents or allegations. The NHS is taking proactive steps to deploy body cameras, particularly among ambulance crews and mental health nurses, aiming to mitigate the onslaught of attacks experienced by its workforce. Against the backdrop of recent abuse scandals within the NHS resulting in both mental and physical harm to employees and patients alike, the adoption of body cameras represents a proactive strategy to enhance workplace safety. Drawing from past experiences, it is evident that body cameras effectively serve as a deterrent in hazardous work environments where high-stakes situations are prevalent.
DELIVERY DRIVERS: Delivery drivers work alone in unfamiliar environments, which makes them vulnerable to abuse. They can be subject to vehicle accidents, road rage, verbal aggression, robbery, violence and intimidation with more than 600 Deliveroo drivers reporting to police that they had been mugged, threatened with knives or even sexually assaulted last year – up 50% on the 300 incidents recorded in 2020.
Delivery drivers, especially those working in high-crime areas, can benefit from body cameras to increase their safety. These devices can act as a deterrent to potential assailants and provide evidence in case of theft, assaults, or accidents. Employing a body-worn camera means that drivers are not only covered when on the road (via a dashcam or a mounted body camera) but also when out of the vehicle and on foot. Due to the nature of the 'Observer Effect' and the ability to record any aggressive, abusive or antisocial behaviour immediately puts the driver in a more advantageous position.
TRAFFIC WARDENS: A recent survey sheds light on the relentless stream of abuse and violence endured by traffic wardens on a daily basis. Conducted among local authorities, the survey unveils the harsh realities faced by these workers as they diligently patrol the streets, enforcing parking regulations. Shockingly, the study reveals a staggering 1,131 incidents of physical assault, verbal abuse, and threats directed towards wardens last year alone, averaging three distressing incidents each day.
Traffic wardens or parking enforcement officers can use body cameras to document interactions with the public, ensuring fair and accurate enforcement of traffic regulations. The recorded footage can also serve as evidence in case of disputes or complaints. Not only to be used for documentation for prosecution sake but for combating abuse they may face from the public. As body cameras act as a deterrent towards the public, traffic wardens and other public crime sectors would benefit if these are challenges they face in the workplace and are in need of a low-cost solution.
AIRPORT SECURITY AND STAFF: Airport security personnel and staff frequently encounter challenging situations with passengers, particularly as travel to warmer destinations has surged following the impatience spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic. There's an unprecedented eagerness among people to escape the confines of their homes. In a recent article from the Belfast Telegraph, it states that ‘Assaults against police and security staff at Belfast International Airport (BIA) are up fourfold’. The managing director of BIA Graham Keddie Graham Keddie said the Co Antrim airport is increasing efforts to target and bring action against disruptive passengers.
In this dynamic environment, body-worn cameras emerge as invaluable tools for airport and airline security personnel. They serve to monitor passenger behaviour, deter disruptive incidents, and furnish crucial evidence in the event of security breaches or altercations. The introduction of body-worn cameras in airport security not only enhances professionalism but also promotes transparency and safety, thereby cultivating a secure environment that benefits both staff and passengers alike.
PRISON OFFICERS: The rising trend of attacks on prison officers, spanning both public and private prisons, has become a pressing concern. Statistics indicate that the frequency of these assaults is on a trajectory to surpass the record numbers recorded just prior to the pandemic in 2018-19.
To address this escalating issue, as of 28 April 2023, prison officers in England and Wales have been equipped with a body-worn video camera to enhance their safety and mitigate prison violence. This proactive measure comes in response to nearly 6000 reported incidents of assaults on prison officers within English and Welsh prisons annually, with 700 resulting in serious injuries last year alone. Notably, incidents have risen by a third in 2016, underscoring the urgency of prioritising the protection of both staff and prisoners.
As part of a comprehensive reform effort across the UK, the introduction of Body Worn Cameras within Her Majesty’s Prison Service in England and Wales, and subsequently in Northern Ireland and Scotland, has been recognized as an effective, safe, and scalable measure for addressing some of the abusive behaviours prevalent within the service. These cameras serve multiple functions, including acting as a deterrent against violence in prisons. The visible presence of body-worn cameras serves as a reminder to inmates that their actions are being recorded, dissuading them from engaging in violent behaviour towards prison officers. This increased awareness of surveillance fosters a safer environment by deterring potential perpetrators and reducing the likelihood of conflicts escalating into violence.
IS YOUR BUSINESS IN NEED OF BODY CAMERAS?
Introducing the HALO BodyCam, elevate your safety measures effortlessly with our subscription-based service. Enjoy a hassle-free setup and secure data transfer with automatic uploads to our cutting-edge data asset management system. Upgrade your team's security prowess with ease.
The HALO BodyCam's presence alone can diffuse tense situations, providing an added layer of protection. In the event of legal action, the recorded video stands as irrefutable proof, safeguarding your security team against unfounded claims. Packed with multiple security functions, it ensures the well-being of your employees and respects customer privacy, all while offering a cost-effective approach to potential volatile scenarios.
This lightweight camera seamlessly attaches to any uniform through various mounting options, providing convenience without compromising effectiveness. Trust HALO BodyCam to be your reliable partner in enhancing security, empowering your team, and fostering a safer work environment.
In each of these industries investigated, body-worn cameras offer a visible deterrent to potential aggressors, promote accountability, and provide reassurance to vulnerable employees. The ability to capture video and audio evidence can help resolve disputes, prevent false claims, and improve overall safety and security practices.