Hospital Injuries Down 28% says Hospital Head of Security
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham agreed to initially pilot the operational, practical, and evidential value of the Reveal RS1 and RS3 (current model RS3-SX) body worn video cameras; with the aim of decreasing violent and aggressive incidents that security officers respond to a face on a daily basis.
Head of Security Andrew Clark provided a report on their findings, beginning with a security awareness campaign was launched prior to the scheme starting so clinical staff were aware that officers may record violent and aggressive incidents.
Aims For Achievement
With the Zero Harm initiative, reduction of violence and aggression is a focus of any Balfour Beatty workplace. Security personnel have been equipped with the RS1/RS3 body worn cameras in order to record and obtain evidential evidence for the following acts committed on hospital grounds focusing on A&E and Clinical Decisions Unit:
- Acts or threats of verbal and/or physical aggression
- Any intimidating or unreasonable behaviour.
- Acts of verbal or racial abuse or other anti-social behaviour.
Incidents Involving Body Cameras
Several incidents took place which warranted the use of the body worn video camera, having a significant effect on dousing volatile situations that security personnel faced.
Firstly, in the early hours of one Friday the security controller, whilst conducting a CCTV camera patrol, noticed an IC1 (white) male seated in the emergency department waiting area who was consuming a can of alcohol.
2x security officers were initially deployed and upon advising the male against consuming alcohol on hospital grounds, met a tirade of verbal abuse and threats of violence by the heavily intoxicated man. The incident was de-escalated via verbal prompts by the security officers in attendance before the male returned to his cubicle within the emergency department.
Approximately an hour after the incident, the security control room received an emergency call from the emergency department stating the male had been discharged however he was refusing to leave.
3 officers responded, one of whom was equipped with a body worn camera, and escorted the male to the reception desk where efforts were made to book him a taxi home. As he became more abusive, the body camera was utilised.
Despite repeated warnings referencing the male’s language and aggressive conduct, the security officers in attendance had no alternative but to physically restrain him and remove him from hospital grounds safely and securely.
On this occasion the body camera was used due to the potential physical threat that this male presented. The body camera could have provided footages support the CCTV footage that may have been provided to West Midland Police if required.
The second incident took place in the early hours of a Sunday, the security control room received a call from the emergency department requesting at least two security officers reference a discharged IC4 ((South) Asian) female that was refusing to leave.
Officers were deployed, and one of the 3 was equipped with the body worn camera, upon attendance we were informed that the female in question was demanding prescription drugs (morphine) and was well known to the various hospitals within the Birmingham area.
Initially the female, who was accompanied by her brother, was spoken to and verbally informed that she had been medically discharged and had to leave the department; however this resulted in further abuse.
The female was advised of the criminal justice and immigration act 2008 concerning sections 119 and 120 (a provision to give staff and police working in the NHS the power to remove and to prosecute individuals causing a nuisance or disturbance on NHS premises). Her brother was advised to reason with the female whilst officers monitored from a distance.
Whilst monitoring, it became known that the female had a history for making allegations of people touching her inappropriately and due to her confrontational demeanour, it was decided that during the next verbal dialogue to use a body camera.
The female was advised the body worn video device was being utilised and she was physically assisted into a waiting wheelchair and out of the main department. Once off hospital grounds the female unleashed another verbal tirade of abuse when prompted to the leave the wheelchair.
As the request to exit the wheelchair was met with profanity, she was physically guided out of the chair before she decided to hurl herself to the ground. The security controller was then requested to contact West Midlands Police due to the general nuisance, however the male and female left site before the police managed to attend.
In summary, the main reason why the body worn camera was utilised on this occasion was to protect security personnel from any unwanted and fabricated allegations of sexual assault; which the female was known for.
The third incident occurred just a fortnight later, a Sunday evening when West Midlands Ambulance Control Centre contacted the emergency department stating they had an aggressive, highly intoxicated female on board an ambulance bound for the QEHB. The emergency department then contacted the security control room who deployed 2x security officers to the department awaiting the arrival of the said female.
When the female initially entered the emergency department, she was very aggressive to both clinical staff and members of the public and was strapped to the stretcher such was her behaviour. When the strapping was eventually removed so she could utilise the toilet facilities, the female approached a Trust domestic, racially abused him before spitting in his face. It was at this point a decision was made to utilise the body worn camera.
The female continued to demonstrate both aggressive and verbally abusive behaviour which prompted 2x West Midlands Police Officers that were based in the department to intervene. At one point she was physically restrained whilst attempting to leave the department despite a significant laceration to her leg which was bleeding heavily.
Shortly after a brief dialogue with West Midlands Police, the female fell to the floor outside the internal ambulance doors which effected ingress/egress from the department. Due to the female’s highly aggressive and obstructive behaviour and due to the amount of blood she was losing from her leg injury, all incoming ambulances were requested to divert to other hospitals in the surrounding area.
The female was eventually moved to an adjacent cubicle accompanied by security staff and Police officers in attendance where she was treated for her injuries despite aggressive attempts from her to leave.
Reveal Cameras in Review
In summary, the use of the body worn camera was prompted when the above female racially abused then assaulted a member of Trust staff, by spitting in his face. The female was also verbally abusive and extremely threatening and security officers/clinical staff may have been prone to outburst of a violent attack at any moment.
Since the body worn camera was implemented for use by the security department on 5th May 2013, there has been no major significant decrease in aggressive security related incidents attended however there has been a decrease of 10 injuries sustained to security personnel in the comparative months from Jan 13, a reduction of 28.57% since the scheme was launched (again for only 3 months in A&E and CDU only).
"In summary the scheme has proved to be undoubtedly successful in assisting security personnel in dealing with aggressive incidents/individuals with the footage potentially being used for evidential purposes."
"This is due to aggressors carrying out acts before understanding when the camera is being used. Once they understand what is happening, they tend not to resist. The other note worth issue is that we can’t say how many possible issues we have resolved by utilising the camera as it’s difficult to capture information that has not happened."
"The Scheme has also been greeted well by Senior Trust staff, and especially in the emergency department where it has been utilised on 3 separate occasions."
"We all personally endorse the continued use of the Body Worn Camera and as long as the set procedures and policies are adhered to (these will be released when and where necessary) in regards to where/when it can be used and as long as the data protection act is followed, then I can envisage no real issues with regards to the continued use of the scheme." - Andrew Clark