By Bridget Rutherford
The number of assaults and abuse being reported by Christchurch's parking wardens has increased in the past year, despite them being given body cameras to wear.
But the city council says the new technology has encouraged staff to report incidents more, because the footage provided reliable evidence.
The 21 parking wardens were given the body-mounted cameras in April last year. They can be activated if staff think their safety is at risk.
City council transport operations manager Aaron Haymes said there had been 36 reported incidents since they were introduced - 12 of which were physical assaults.
In the 15 months prior, there were 19 reported.
"Our experience has shown that the body worn cameras have increased safety for our staff by lessening the seriousness of incidents and discouraging undesirable behaviour."
He said previously a number of incidents went under the radar, but the cameras now provided reliable evidence.
"This means it's more likely that somebody will be held to account for their actions, and that encourages staff to report."
Haymes said surprisingly, most assaults on staff were carried out by people who had no connection to the issuing of an infringement.
Staff activated their cameras seven times, which appeared to deter abuse or violent behaviour.
Of the 36 incidents, seven offenders were charged, convicted and ordered to either pay reparation, apologise, do community service or attend anger management courses.
One staff member had to have five days off following an assault on July 17 on Oxford Tce.
The warden was issuing a $40 fine for failure to show a pay and display ticket at 3.16pm when the vehicle owner assaulted them. The offender was arrested and is awaiting a court date.
Haymes said the city council was always working on initiatives that reduced the risk of staff being harmed.
"We want to make sure our staff make it through their work day safely and get to go home at the end of each day to their families."