26 March 2018
Sheffield City Council is taking action to prevent anti-social behaviour towards its team of Civil Enforcement Officers by issuing them with Body Worn Video cameras.
The council’s Parking Services Civil Enforcement Officers – who tackle the city’s problem parkers to keep the city moving and school children safe – have recently started wearing the light-weight devices on their jacket pockets.
The team, which operates across the city, can often encounter difficult situations in the course of their day-to-day activities. Civil Enforcement Officers can now choose when to film using the state-of-the-art devices – and material can be used in criminal proceedings if necessary.
Between 2011 and 2015, the number of violent incidents against civil enforcement officers increased year on year. During 2014/15, 76 incidents were reported, which is more than twice the number of those reported in 2011/12.
Councillor Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for Transport and Sustainability, said:
“I am so pleased that we are rolling out these body worn cameras across the whole team. we acknowledge the incredibly valuable job done by our civil enforcement officers.
“Our traffic officers help keep us all safe. They make sure that our children can get to school safely and that emergency vehicles can get where they need to go.
“The safety of our staff is absolutely vital. We have a zero tolerance approach to all aggression and we will not tolerate any acts of verbal or physical abuse whatsoever. These cameras are a vital way for us to keep our hardworking staff safe.”
The devices can capture high-quality images close up, including audio recording, and work at night in low light.
The cameras won’t be used to provide evidence to support issuing Parking Fines. They are solely for the prevention and detection of crime. They are visible on an officer’s uniform.
The Civil Enforcement Officers have received training in the use of the body-worn cameras, and the devices are only used when the officer feels under threat. The cameras won’t be constantly running. Devices are securely encrypted and they are password protected, so if stolen data is secure and can’t be deleted. They’re also very robust and damaging the device won’t stop the footage from being useable.
These cameras complement the other safety equipment officers are issued with, such as the Airwaves Two Way radio system which connects Civil Enforcement Officers direct to South Yorkshire Police control, so in the case of a serious incident police can be despatched immediately.
Notes to editors:
The total cost for the cameras will be £23,000, spread over the next three years. It is estimated that this money will be repaid through increased productivity within the team and fewer days lost to stress, staff illness etc.