Police patrol hospital corridors

Police officers have been drafted in to stop violent attacks at a hospital after a man was seen brandishing a machete in the corridors.

The month-long trial will see officers in uniform working alongside security guards at Newport's Royal Gwent Hospital.

It is hoped their presence will prevent the rising number of threats of violence against doctors, nurses and other staff.

Managers decided to step up security after CCTV cameras captured a man walking along the hospital corridors waving a machete two months ago.

"As part of the trial, a police officer will work alongside our own security staff," said Royal Gwent spokesman Julian Hayman.

"A police officer will be on site everyday based in the hospital's CCTV room.

We hope that it will make a difference to have a police presence on the site
Julian Hayman, Royal Gwent Hospital

"The officer will patrol both the Royal Gwent and nearby St Woolos Hospital and will have access to the security radios to hear what is going on."

The Royal Gwent is the biggest hospital serving Newport and around 1,200 staff work at the city centre site at any one time.

"We do have the usual Friday and Saturday night problems in Accident and Emergency when some patients have had too much to drink," said Mr Hayman.

"And we get the problems of car crime.

"Our security staff are very busy and are often tied up marshalling traffic.

"So having someone on call to deal with criminal incidents only will be very important."

The trial was introduced after talks between the hospital and Gwent Police who have confirmed that officers have been drafted in for it.

"We are conducting a month-long trial to see if there is a benefit to having a permanent police presence at the hospital," said Chief Inspector for Operations in Newport Julian Knight.

Unison officials at the hospital have welcomed the initiative.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2004/03/09 17:08:29 GMT