The amount of verbal abuse suffered by members of the public and civil enforcement officers (CEOs) has been on the rise for the past several years.
The Telegraph and Daily mail have reported that the estimated number of verbal abuse incidents, especially those directed at members of ethnic minorities and public workers, has almost doubled over the last two years. More than half of these incidents go unreported, as officers often have little proof of the abuse they have suffered.
In March 2016, Sutton Council’s parking officers suffered 11 such incidents. These offences ranged from verbal abuse through to violence against officers.
In April 2016, there were reports from CEOs in Sutton of offences committed by drivers, including;
- Racial abuse involving swearing
- Threatening behaviour
- Driving over a CEO’s foot after a ticket had been issued
- Being pursued by a driver and threatened by a dog
To help deal with incidents, CEOs were issued with Edesix Body Worn Cameras (BWCs) in April to capture video and sound evidence for use in Court.
BWCs are designed to capture high quality video and audio in order to be used as court-ready evidence, should officers need it. Edesix has already had successful roll-outs of Body Worn Video worldwide, with Police forces, local councils and security firms utilising the VideoBadge for staff and public wellbeing.
CEOs can quickly activate the recording if they feel threatened, often with the sheer presence of the camera preventing an incident from occurring at all. If the offending party is undeterred by the recording taking place, then CEOs can be assured that the footage they record can be used as evidence of the offence.
Commenting on the Sutton government website, Sgt Simon Alexander, Town Centre Supervisor, based at Sutton Police Station, said:
“All reports of abuse are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly – and in future will be supported by evidence gathered from the new body cameras. These will help us take many more cases to Court. Abuse against CEOs will not be tolerated and could result in a criminal record, which could restrict an offender’s future job opportunities.”
This use-case highlights the versatility of Body Worn Cameras, as both a preventative and reactive measure against abuse sustained by frontline workers.