Body Worn Cameras (BWCs) are a necessity for local authorities across the UK as transparency, safety of staff & greater accountability become more important for UK councils, as well as the communities they serve.
According to a recent study, 54% of all local UK authorities now equip members of staff or contractors with BWCs. This a substantial increase and step forward since Renfrewshire Council became the first local authority in the UK to record publicly the adoption and use of BWCs back in 2009.
UNISON, the largest trade union in the UK, further reinforces the need for such devices by stating that the introduction of Body Worn Cameras for its members working in public-facing roles for local UK authorities is necessary to stop the abuse they face as figures showed verbal and physical assaults on staff are growing.
Applications of Body Worn Cameras for Local Authorities
The usage applications of BWCs has expanded across multiple departments within local authorities. Civil Enforcement Officers, Traffic Wardens and Environmental Health teams are just some of the departments now using BWCs and more recently, some councils have issued BWCs to Dog Wardens, Health and Safety Officers and Crossing Patrol Supervisors, further proving the versatility of the technology to improve transparency, safety of staff and provide greater accountability.
The key benefits of using BWCs are:
- to protect members of staff and the public.
- to discourage aggression and physical or verbal violence against staff.
- to deter and detect crime and anti-social behaviour.
- to assist in the identification of offenders leading to successful penalties or convictions.
- to promote employee compliance with council policies and procedures.
- to provide useful training exercises where staff can review, analyse and improve their actions.
Over the past few years, Edesix has been working with a growing number of local authorities in the UK, providing BWCs that are proven to dissuade antisocial behaviour from members of the public and deter aggression towards staff. Footage obtained from notable incidents are not only used to secure convictions, but can also be used for training and discerning best practice for users. Edesix’s VideoBadge and VideoTag Body Worn Cameras are lightweight, unobtrusive and can be easily fitted to any uniform, vital features that make the daily jobs of those using it much simpler.
All footage and data captured by VideoBadges and VideoTags will be uploaded to VideoManager - a software tool for managing video footage, system users, and the suite of Body Worn Cameras. This web-based back-office gives the user complete control over their entire complement of BWCs, as well as footage from third party cameras, making the creation of evidence-ready footage fast, simple and secure.
Footage and incidents can be shared outside of local authorities using secure links. These links will be traceable within the audit trail, and can be enabled with an expiration date. Any footage requiring escalation can be shared to the relevant parties, and footage from all department can be managed centrally.
Some of the departments in which local authority staff work in when using the Edesix solution include:
- Parking Enforcement
Parking officers use VideoBadges to deter aggression from members of the public and collect footage of issued tickets, which is often used to contest false claims. Parking officers collect their badges from a docking station at the beginning of their shift, and the camera will remain associated with that officer until it’s returned, ensuring a chain of custody for all recordings.
- Civil Enforcement
Civil Enforcement Officers across the UK use VideoBadges in the field when issuing notices. VideoBadges benefit CEOs by changing the behaviour of members of the public and capturing evidential quality footage of interactions.
- Environmental Health
Edesix Body Worn Cameras are used by both Environmental Health teams and litter wardens alike. Using a Body Worn Camera for waste collection can dissuade potential fly-tippers or catch those in the act, capturing footage of offending individuals.
- Harbour Masters
Edesix VideoBadges benefit Harbour Masters as a means of mobile CCTV, recording areas that are not covered by conventional fixed IP cameras. The Port is made more secure as a larger proportion of the site is under surveillance, allowing a greater opportunity to gather evidence if needed, in the case of an incident.
- Crossing Patrols
Crossing patrols use Body Worn Cameras to protect staff and children from careless drivers. VideoBadges help at crossings where motorists fail to stop or verbally abuse crossing patrol staff as they help children across the road.
The Success of Edesix’s Body Worn Cameras
The London Borough of Bromley reported a significant reduction in the number of incidents since they introduced Edesix’s solution.
Ben Stephens, Parking Manager of London Borough of Bromley said:
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. Claremont Council stated that, once informed of the Edesix cameras by officers, people’s attitude changed dramatically for the better.
To capture critical evidence and protect your department, please get in touch by emailing the Edesix sales team - firstname.lastname@example.org.