Parking Officers in Tauranga, NZ, Equipped with Reveal Body Cameras
Image by Ruth Keber
Tauranga City Council, New Zealand, have trialled body worn video over the past 12 months, and have now made the decision to equip all of their parking officers with Reveal body cameras, as of March 2017.
The council began trialling body worn video to combat rising levels of violence against parking officers.
Steven Trafford, acting parking team leader of Tauranga council, said, "our parking officers regularly encounter confrontational situations."
In 2016, one officer received death threats, another was driven into by an angry driver and a third was physically assaulted.
Stuart Goodman, Team Leader: Parking and Bylaws said, "we found that the cameras effectively acted as a deterrent. Over the trial period, parking officers noticed that the cameras had a positive effect on the attitude and demeanour of members of the public and fewer conflicts escalated."
A Tauranga parking officer, who wished to remain anonymous, reported that the body cameras helped from the very first day of deployment. He stated that he had witnessed a clearly agitated and aggressive member of the public approach one of his colleagues from the other side of the road; but the situation defused once the member of the public realised that the officer was wearing body cameras.
"They spotted the camera and calmed down. It was not as heated as it could have been," he said.
Now, after a year of trialling body worn video Tauranga City Council have opted to roll out Reveal body cameras from March 2017.
Tauranga City Council said that they chose Reveal body cameras due to the outward facing playback screen, which records in real time and allows the member(s) of the public to view themselves being recorded on camera.
This aspect of the body camera has been essential in de-escalating situations and a UK study found that assaults on police officers fell by a third when body cameras were introduced.
Stuart said, "the cameras will be highly effective when a parking officer finds themselves in a threatening situation and feels unsafe."
New laws brought in in 2016, such as the Health and Safety at Work Act 2016, have highlighted employer’s obligation to ensure the safety and wellbeing of staff and caused more and more local government authorities to turn to body worn video as a means of protecting their staff.
"A number of other councils nationwide have recently purchased or are trialling body-worn cameras. Such cameras are rapidly becoming a standard tool to increase safety for enforcement officers," said Stuart.
The council also intend to use the pre-record function of the Reveal body cameras.
In pre-record mode, the body cameras have the ability to continually film and overwrite themselves every 30 seconds. This means that if a parking officer feels threatened, he/she can activate the body camera and the recording initiates with the previous 30 seconds incorporated into the recording time. If a situation escalates quickly, the body camera can provide an insight into the build-up of the situation.
The footage from Reveal body cameras is stored initially on the encrypted hardware until it is uploaded to the accompanying Digital Evidence Management Software (DEMS) where it is securely stored with restricted user level access.
The Tauranga City Council say that the footage will be stored and managed in compliance to the Privacy Act 1993, using Reveal’s DEMS.
Body worn video provides protection for parking officers on the frontline of council enforcement by de-escalating situations and diffusing hostile interactions with members of the public. The footage can be used as evidence against those who verbally or physically assault parking officers, resulting in a safer workforce, with a higher morale.
To request a demo of Reveal’s body camera please click here.