Rangers and parking officers within the Town of Claremont will be among the first in Western Australia to utilise body worn cameras during their day-to-day activities.
The Town of Claremont unanimously voted at its June 27 council meeting to purchase six body worn cameras (BWCs), following a successful four-month trial earlier this year. Budget for the project was then approved at the July 4 council meeting.
Once activated, the cameras capture sound and vision. They are widely used in law enforcement throughout Australia as an additional security and monitoring measure.
Mayor Jock Barker said the cameras will be a welcome addition to the Town of Claremont’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 BWCs, which will only be switched to record mode 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.
“This technology also complements the Town’s Caution First
program, which has seen the number of infringements within the Town reduce by more than 300 in this first month and cautions rise to 77% of all notices given,” Mayor Barker said.
The Town of Claremont BWCs are expected to be in operation by the end of August.
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