Calls for tougher punishments for 'morons' who attack our firefighters after bodycam trial

Calls have been made for tougher punishments for those caught abusing firefighters as further plans were made for body-worn cameras to be made available.

Monday, 7th October 2019, 4:16 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th October 2019, 12:31 pm
Cleveland Fire Brigade has been trialing bodycams

Cleveland Fire Authority bosses stated following a trial of body-worn cameras for firefighters it has been agreed the cameras will be made available to all personnel who want to wear them.

Chief fire officer Ian Hayton said they are now in the process of procuring the set of body cameras and added he hopes it can lead to catching and prosecuting those guilty of abusing firefighters.

Councillors on the Cleveland Fire Executive Committee called for tougher sentences for those captured abusing the firefighters.

Coun Bill Woodhead MBE, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council representative, said: “The thing I think is that the sentences are not severe enough.

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“Our firefighters are protecting their homes, [the people abusing them] they’re just morons.

“As soon as our magistrates start giving harder sentences and more severe sentences, that’s what should happen, now they just smack their hands and that’s it.”

Coun Mary Ovens, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council representative, said she hopes the cameras will be available in time for bonfire night, where they often see a spike in incidents.

She said: “With regards to body cameras, I hope they could be given out prior to the whole bonfire shenanigans because I can imagine that’s when the ante is ramped up a little bit and they may be more effective.

“If it makes them feel safe or can be used in evidence I hope significant numbers of people go for it.”

Mr Hayton said the number of incidents of violence to staff has been on the rise and cameras will be available to all firefighters who want one.

He said: “The levels of violence to staff both verbal and physical are on the increase, and in an approach to combat some of that we have trialled body worn cameras for operational personnel.

“Not particularity as a deterrent, although it sometimes has that effect, but equally we can capture evidence and work with other agencies to prosecute to the full extent of the law those individuals that are attacking emergency service workers, in this case firefighters.

“The trial has been completed and we’re in the process of procuring those and making those available to all staff.

“We’re introducing it on a voluntary basis to ensure that the personnel are confident in using them, but any person who wants one, can have one.

“Hopefully that will have some impact in relation to the violence that our staff are enduring.”