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Crews wear cameras after spate of attacks; bottles as they tackle blaze Pelted with bricks and.

Byline: CHRIS BINDING Reporter chris.binding@reachplc.com

FIREFIGHTERS have been forced to wear body-worn cameras following a rise in attacks on emergency services in Sunderland.

Bonfire night celebrations saw crews called to Southwick pelted with bricks, bottles and fireworks as they tackled a car fire.

Just over a week later, firefighters suffered verbal and physical abuse when rocks were thrown at them in Winslow Close.

To tackle the issue, body-worn cameras have been moved from crews in Sunderland Central to Marley Park Community Fire Station, in Fulwell.

The changes were revealed at the North Sunderland Area Committee at the Bunny Hill Health Centre on Thursday, where councillors condemned the recent attacks.

nee' We d the emergency services services, being Recent figures for the Sunderland North area revealed the number of attacks on firefighters had more than doubled the time acceptable.

- from three in 2017/18 to seven in 2018/19.

Chairman of the Tyne and Wear Fire Authority and St Peter's councillor, Barry Curran, called for the committee to explore funding for cameras at incident hotspots in future.

COUN "This was an appalling attack on officers who were only trying to do their job," he said. "We need to support the emergency services and fire services, they're being attacked all the time and it's not acceptable."

CCTV is currently available on fire engines with footage being passed to Northumbria Police.

Head of service delivery at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS), Steve Burdis, speaking at the meeting, said the body-worn camera changes were due to the "danger and risks crews are facing in the area".

The cameras are currently being trialled at select stations, with funds potentially being channelled into other areas in future.

He added: "It's the minority spoiling it for the majority.

"It's a cost but I think it's a cost that's worthwhile and it's about making safer communities."

In a show of solidarity with TWFRS, opposition Conservative councillors have called for cross-party support to oppose the violence.

t' support A motion will be launched at full council on Wednesday by leader of the Conservative group on the council, Coun Robert Oliver.

fire they're all it's not It reads: "This council, on behalf of the vast majority of law-abiding people in Sunderland, condemns the recent attacks on firefighters in this city and will support a zero-tolerance approach to anyone caught attacking any firefighter, who does one of the most dangerous and essential jobs in our society."

Barry Curran

We nee' d t' o support the emergency services and fire services, they're being attacked all the time and it's not acceptable. COUN BARRY CURRAN

CAPTION(S):

| The scene on bonfire night, where firefighters in Sunderland were attacked

| Firefighters at the scene of an allotment fire in Hazlerigg IAIN BUIST

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Publication:Sunday Sun (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 18, 2018
Words:463
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