London Borough of Bromley is one of 33 London Boroughs and at 58 square miles covers the largest area. Half of the borough is covered by green belt countryside, the largest area of green space in London. The borough has over 3,200 streets patrolled by an average of 23 parking enforcement officers. The responsibility for enforcing on and off-street parking restrictions (previously held by the police) was taken over by the borough in 1993.
Body worn video systems have been in existence for some years in many guises. Over time they have proven to offer a range of benefits to parking enforcement operations including; an accurate record of conversations and events at the time of a PCN issue, protection for enforcement officers as video recording helps to diffuse potentially aggressive situations, a training aide – in particular where a contractor is used, and reducing the paperwork and investigation time associated with PCN appeals and allegations against staff.
When the authority’s existing body worn video systems came to the end of their usable life after only 18 months, London Borough of Bromley’s parking managers decided to look for a new approach to personal CCTV. Currently processing around 30,000 PCN appeals annually, they needed a secure, robust device which was simple to operate but above all could produce compelling, high quality evidence easily when required to respond to an appeal.
Through VideoBadge the authority has been able to improve first response communications to appeals by providing a more transparent and comprehensive account of the events in question. The high quality of the video and audio evidence produced by the VideoBadge system acts as an independent witness, providing the context to events and conversations that a written statement cannot. This has meant that significant time and cost savings can be attributed to the reduced number of second letters received and subsequently requiring to be processed and responded to.
Ben Stephens, parking manager of London Borough of Bromley said “VideoBadge has helped us to develop a robust, efficient process for dealing with PCN challenges and drive up our standards of communication. This saves us valuable time and money when budgets are tight and local authorities are being urged to do more for less.”
During busy periods, VideoVault is used by remote working staff to access footage and process appeals from wherever they may be, even as far as Australia - flexibility which helps make the best use of resource at all times. In addition, the presence of the camera also helps to reduce the number of false allegations against enforcement officers and instances of aggression and violence, helping those doing a difficult job feel safer and more protected, particularly when working alone.