Tauranga parking officers will use body cameras permanently after a trial was deemed to have been successful.

Parking officers were fitted with cameras last year to find out whether they helped defuse aggressive behaviour.

Tauranga City Council team leader Stuart Goodman said the move came after officers had been regularly abused and threatened. During the past year there had been four instances of physical assault or aggression.

However, during the trial officers noticed that the cameras helped curb this behaviour and there had been fewer instances of conflict.

Advertisement

"We found that the cameras effectively acted as a deterrent."

Under new health and safety laws, the council must ensure the safety of its staff and take action to reduce workplace harm where possible.

The council has seven parking officers and is recruiting an eighth.

From this week, they will wear a Cert Solutions Reveal video camera, a type used by local and central government groups in other parts of Australasia. It has a forward-facing screen that allows people to see that they are being recorded.

The camera continually films and overwrites itself at 30-second intervals. If officers encounter a problem, they can tap the camera so that it continues recording past 30 seconds and retains the previous 30 seconds.

A parking officer, who could not be identified for security reasons, said they were trained in ways to defuse aggressive behaviour.

"The camera will assist us in our duties. It will help clear up any disputes by holding those responsible to account. The introduction of these cameras is all about safety - ideally the camera will be enough to deter any situation from escalating, so that we don't actually need to press 'record'."

Mr Goodman said the cameras would be highly effective when parking officers found themselves in a threatening situation and felt unsafe.

Advertisement

The camera's software would record dates and times, providing evidence in cases of dispute.

Mr Goodman said that cameras were becoming a standard tool to increase safety for enforcement officers.

[Factbox]
Camera facts

-Council has purchased eight Cert Solutions Reveal video cameras, including software and accessories, at a total cost of $14,000.

-The collection, storage and use of any personal information captured by the cameras will be managed in accordance with the Privacy Act.