CLAREMONT rangers and parking officers will wear cameras during their work, making them among the first local government employees in WA to do so.
The announcement came two days after a man driving a Mercedes allegedly rammed and pinned a parking inspector with his car in Fremantle.
The decision to introduce the cameras came before the alleged Fremantle assault, with Claremont council voting unanimously at its June 27 council meeting to purchase six body worn cameras (BWCs), following a successful four-month trial earlier this year.
The budget for the project was approved at the council on Tuesday night, and the cameras will be in operation by the end of August.
The cameras, which record audio as well as vision when activated, are widely used in law enforcement throughout Australia.
Claremont Mayor Jock Barker said the cameras will be a welcome addition to the Town’s Community Safety Program and will provide as much of a deterrent as CCTV.
“The BWCs have been implemented for three key reasons: to record and store information, provide an additional level of safety for our officers and residents and to monitor our customer service performance,” he said.
“Unfortunately it is a common occurrence for our officers to report verbal abuse; often up to four times a week. Since we have undertaken the trial, we have found people’s attitude changes dramatically once the officers inform them of the camera.”
The Town has developed guidelines and procedures to manage the use of the cameras, which will only be switched to record “when the officer is attending a complaint, is approached by a person in an agitated or aggressive manner, or if they witness an incident where footage may provide evidence as an offence”.
Officers will inform members of the public if they are being recorded.
Councillor Barker said the technology complements the Town’s Caution First program, which has seen the number of infringements within the Town reduced by more than 300 in this first month and cautions rise to 77 per cent of all notices given.