Shropshire Star

Fire service rolls out body cameras

The Shropshire fire service is hoping to increase the number of body worn cameras it owns.

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Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service currently owns 30 cameras, which cost £540 per unit.

Speaking at an authority meeting this week, Marc Millward, area manager for service delivery, said that they are ‘looking to roll it out further’.

Mr Millward said the cameras allow firefighters to live stream at incidents.

“The brigade manager can get live footage and use footage to support investigations,” he added.

“Footage can also be used to enhance training.

“There is also a safety element as well as staff sometimes receive verbal and physical abuse.”

Chief fire officer Simon Hardiman assured firefighters that "it’s not big brother watching".

He said: “Officers have been behind it and we’ve been fostering trust. We have reassured them that the video is used for tactical, learning or investigations.

“It’s taken a while to get there but we are in a good place and officers are accepting of that.”

Mr Millward gave the Shropshire and Wrekin Fire Service Authority a presentation about the service’s use of digital devices at their meeting on Wednesday.

He said that the authority now owned two drones and had 10 trained drone pilots based between their bases at the Tweedale Industrial Estate and in Newport.

Mr Millward said that the larger drone had a range of 20 miles and a longer operating time than the smaller drone which had  a range of four miles.

“The equipment gives us still and moving photographs,” he added.

Mr Millward said that the equipment was recently used in Bridgnorth to help the local authority to see the size and impact of flooding.

The drones also have thermal imaging capabilities which can be used to see where a fire is contained and give an overview of incidents, the proximity to other buildings and where potential dangers are.

He added that the thermal imaging can ‘pinpoint’ where a fire is in a building and direct crews to that area.

The service is working with Kent Fire Service to develop a dedicated drone management application.

The service delivery manager added that tablets have now paper copies for risk assessments.

He said that using a tablet meant that the information was then live, can be sent to the command unit and shared to anybody at the incident.

“The programme we use is pre-populated including generic hazards and best practices,” added Mr Millward.

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