Merton Council’s civil enforcement officers (CEO’s) will wear body cameras from Monday 17 August. The council are rolling out this initiative in a bid deter the ever increasing problem faced by the council of abusive and aggressive behaviour towards civil enforcement staff from motorists who break parking rules.
The parking team will now be able to use footage from incidents where motorists display threatening behaviour as evidence to prosecute perpetrators and give CEOs confidence to carry out their duties without fear of abuse. The cameras will only be used in the event of a confrontation and, where possible, a verbal warning will be given to the before members of staff start recording.
The council already operates a zero tolerance policy where physical or verbal aggression towards council staff by members of the public is not tolerated. The move to use body cameras will give extra protection to front line staff such as the CEO’s and is in line other London boroughs including Hammersmith and Fulham, Hillingdon and Tower Hamlets who have all seen a reduction in the number of incidents since using the equipment. It also follows the Metropolitan Police who earlier this year issued staff with the same cameras the council will be using. Any videos that are not used for investigation purposes will be deleted within five working days.
Merton’s cabinet member for environmental cleanliness and parking, Councillor Judy Saunders said, “The safety of our civil enforcement officers is of the utmost important to us and we will not tolerate any verbal or physical abuse against them for enforcing parking restrictions.
“Last year there were 9 incidents where threatening behaviour was shown towards members of our parking staff and they could not be escalated because of a lack of evidence. With the introduction of body cams we will now be able to protect our CEOs and push for maximum prosecution when these incidents occur.”
For more information, visit www.merton.gov.uk/parking