Fire crews in Greater Manchester given bodycams after being repeatedly attacked

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Firemen attending to blazing bonfire

Greater Manchester, UK firefighters will now have body cameras as part of their usual equipment following a sharp rise in attacks, the fire service has stated.
The month of October saw at least 10 attacks, including three on the 17th October, as reported by the Manchester Evening News, which has prompted the decision. Crews in Bolton were supplied the body cameras first.
Lee Coleman from the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service stated that it was sad that the fire service had to take that course of action as a result of the incidents.
152 reports of attacks on firefighters in the service were filed between April 2015 and August 2017, with the attacks ranging from verbal abuse to assault.
In the week commencing the 16th October, fire crews in the area responded to two deliberate fires in Wigan, and were greeted by youths who threw bricks and stones both at the firefighters and the fire engine they travelled in.
Coleman also added that giving firefighters body cameras was “as much for the personal protection of the crews as recording evidence”.
Adding further comment to the matter, Ian Read – the watch manager at Bolton Central – was livid after one of his colleagues was struck on the side of the head with a brick in the aftermath of some offenders setting fire to some rubbish under a bench.
“Luckily he was wearing his helmet with his visor down,” Read said. “If it had hit him in the face it could have blinded him. I have worked in some of the toughest areas – Salford, Broughton and north Bolton – and incidents like this had begun to stop. It is horrible to see them coming back again.”
The spike in attacks has caused the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime for Greater Manchester, Beverley Hughes, to speak up on the matter, who claimed that these attacks are unacceptable.
“These attacks take up the extremely valuable time and resources of our emergency services and will not be tolerated,” Hughes said.
The addition of body cameras is nothing new within the fire sector, as since 2016, firefighters in both Hampshire and the West Midlands have been equipped with cameras.

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