Body Cameras Help Local Government Officials Feel Safer at Work
Following in the footsteps of many UK police constabularies, UK councils are now equipping local government officials with Reveal body cameras, to deter attacks against enforcement officers.
In the local government sector, aggression faced by local government workers from members of the public has been an increasing problem. UNISON’s annual Violence at Work Survey 2016 reporting a rise of 20,000 to 40,000 violent assaults per year in the last decade (2006 to 2016), against public service workers in Scotland alone. As a result, many UK councils have now turned to body worn video to deter abusive attacks on local government officials.
Body worn video has helped to reduce the number of assaults on police officers, by acting as a deterrent and de-escalating the situation. Reveal’s body camera features a front-facing screen, which records in real time and allows the member of the public to view themselves on camera. This has had a calming effect, making the member of the public aware of their behaviour and reducing the overall amount of attacks on police officers by a third.
The reduction in attacks has resulted in less sick days used for recovery from injuries sustained because of a violent attack at work. The footage captured by body worn video has provided evidence for prosecutions against attackers, which has meant higher morale among police officers, and a greater feeling of wellbeing and safety at work.
The NEPP’s Joint Working Committee has recently provided civil enforcement officers (CEOs), Harlow, North Essex, with Reveal body worn videos. The Partnership’s CEOs reported 66 violent and aggressive incidents in April 2015, 28 of which were reported to Essex Police. However, due to a lack of evidence, only 9 of these incidents resulted in any police action.
The CEOs trialled Reveal’s body worn video in a bid to tackle the increase in violent crimes against the officers and restore staff morale. Chairman of the North Essex Parking Partnership Councillor Robert Mitchell said: “The NEPP's Joint Working Committee decided to provide its CEOs with these cameras, to ensure their protection and wellbeing at work.”
Lack of evidence to prosecute attackers has been one of the main issues in local government enforcement.
The same issue also arose in Colchester, where the Colchester Borough Council North Essex Parking Partnership Privacy Impact Assessment Body Worn Cameras stated: “In 2015 an NEPP CEO suffered an assault where he was thrown bodily into a road. No action against the perpetrator was possible due to lack of evidence. Had the CEO been wearing a BWC (body worn camera) a conviction might well have been secured.”
The Colchester Borough Council trialled body worn video in light of this event.
Saint Peter’s Quarter and Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement Districts (BIDS), Derbyshire, have also chosen to use Reveal body cameras to deter aggression and increase officer safety.
The rangers are part of the Derby City Safer Neighbourhoods Team, and provide support for the local police. They have helped with the borough’s ‘Beggar’s Belief’ campaign, which has worked to combat homelessness within Derbyshire.
Unfortunately, the teams can sometimes encounter hostile situations.
“Now they have been equipped with body worn cameras it may be that this video will capture footage that can be used in evidence,” said Sergeant Brian Clifton.
Similarly, Oldham Council, Greater Manchester, have turned to Reveal body cameras to reduce the number of verbal and physical attacks against staff working out in the field. Oldham council told Reveal: “Since the introduction of the body cameras, all are agreed that they have been a real deterrent when performing our services within Oldham.”
The implementation of body worn video for local government officials has been a key step in reducing violent or aggressive incidents. The evidential footage captured by Reveal body cameras has helped to combat the lack of successful prosecution of those who assault local government officials.
To find out how Reveal’s body worn video could improve the safety of your staff please click here.