Tauranga parking wardens to wear cameras

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Tauranga parking officers will be fitted with video cameras from next week. Photo/file
Tauranga parking officers will be fitted with video cameras from next week. Photo/file

Tauranga City Council's parking officers are to be fitted with video cameras to help protect them in potentially unsafe situations.

Acting bylaws and parking team leader Steven Trafford said officers were trialling the cameras over a six-week period, to see if they improve staff safety and defuse confrontational situations before they get out of hand.

The trial will begin from next Monday.

"We have spoken with a number of other councils around the country that have been using the body-worn cameras and they have noticed a significant reduction in confrontational and aggressive incidents," Mr Trafford said.

"This trial supports our approach to ensuring we follow good health and safety practises to protect our staff and customers."

Mr Trafford said while parking officers were trained in how to defuse aggressive behaviour, sometimes it was not enough.

"Our staff do unfortunately deal with difficult situations including verbal abuse, physical abuse, aggressive behaviour and threats," he said.

"These cameras will help hold those responsible to account and provide clear evidence in the case of disputes.

"Other councils with similar devices have found that when cameras are worn, fewer conflicts escalate and conflict situations are less likely to turn aggressive, which gives confidence to staff and the public."

Mr Trafford said the council had strict guidelines for the use of body cameras.

"The cameras on parking officers will not be used for surveillance but for when the officer finds themselves in a threatening situation and feel unsafe. Parking officers will also wear ID tags advising they are wearing a body camera."

Parking officers will trial two types of cameras over the six weeks.

The collection, storage and use of any personal information captured by the cameras will be managed in the same way as other information is managed in accordance with the Privacy Act.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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