Wellington SPCA inspectors to start using body cameras


New Zealand SPCA inspectors use Reveal body cameras

Wellington's SPCA inspectors are the latest law enforcers to be armed with Reveal body cameras for their work investigating animal abuse cases.

The first of the capital's six SPCA inspectors, who cover Wellington, Horowhenua and Wairarapa, will start trialling the cameras in about a week's time in a nationwide pilot.

Wellington SPCA chief executive officer Iain Torrance said the move meant inspectors would have video proof of their version of events in animal welfare cases, which would help them to bring offenders to justice.

"Should the inspector be challenged about has been said or what happened, [the videos] can solve a lot of those challenges.

"If they are on a property, having video of the animal's condition, where it was found, how it is behaving and what is said between the inspector and the public will be very useful."

The inspectors had been trained on the cameras' use and were looking forward to seeing their positive impact in their jobs, Torrance said.

Torrance said a lot of work had been done to ensure any video footage could be used in court. Some other SPCAs around the country had also bought body cameras, but most planned to wait for Wellington to start its trial before employing them.

The move was not prompted by abuse towards inspectors, although Torrance said international evidence showed the public typically "calmed down" when they realised they were on camera. "It can get quite fiery sometimes."

Hutt City Council revealed in mid-July that it was giving body video cameras to 12 parking wardens and animal control officers to boost safety for them and the community.

"They get verbal abuse every day and threats and very aggressive behaviour daily in their jobs ... we need to minimise aggression towards our staff," governance and regulatory general manager Joycelyn Raffills said.

In the past four years, three officers had been physically assaulted, she said.

Learn more about Reveal body cameras