Safety spurs camera trial in Dundedin, New Zealand
Dunedin parking officers are trialling Reveal body cameras due to ongoing concerns about abuse and violence from the public. The RS2-X2L cameras can be in continuous pre-record mode for over 8 hours.
Council group manager customer and regulatory services Adrian Blair said the trial would run for two or three weeks, after which a decision would then be made whether to use cameras permanently. The trial comes after a parking officer was assaulted last month.
The officer was shoved by a disgruntled motorist in George St after attempting to issue a ticket to a man for illegally parking a commercial vehicle on a bus stop. The 30-year-old offender was issued with a pre-charge warning by police.
Last year, there were four assaults on parking officers plus 15 instances of verbal abuse or threatening behaviour and there had been five incidents this year in addition to last month's assault.
“There's a bit of abuse from time to time,” Mr Blair said. “Last year, there was a bit of a spike but it is a concern and that's why we want to trial these cameras and see if they are a deterrent.'”
The Reveal cameras, which were used by Christchurch City Council officers and had been trialled recently by the Wellington City Council, had been effective in reducing threats and violence in other parts of the country, he said.
‘”The key point of these cameras is to increase safety for our staff,”' he said. “Our parking officers do a great job of dealing with the public in sometimes difficult circumstances.
“We don't have many situations where people become abusive, but the camera should act as a deterrent in those few cases.
“We think it will be helpful for our staff and members of the public to know any interactions are being recorded.”
Mr Blair said members of the public would be aware officers were operating the camera because of a screen on the front of the device showing what was being recorded, which has been found to enhance the deterrent factor of the body camera. Senior parking officer Colin Hillerby agrees and said the council's eight parking officers were keen to take part in the trial.