Wigan Council has no imminent plans to fit its bin men with body cameras, despite a new industry call to do so.
UKs waste management agency BusinessWaste.co.uk this week launched a campaign for local authorities to embrace such technology, just as the police do.
The tiny, wearable cameras used to record the often eventful shifts of police officers on duty are unquestionable proof of any unethical behaviour, as well as helping to exonerate officers accused of crimes they didn’t commit.
And now BusinessWaste says they could do the same for our waste collectors.
Spokesman Mark Hall said: “Bin men often face accusations of poor behaviour from the public, whether that’s claiming they haven’t collected valid waste, have made a mess during their rounds, or have been rude and abusive during their shifts.
“We recommend to all councils to add body cams to their bin men’s uniforms to counter these accusations, and help improve the reputation of these vital workers to give them the respect they deserve.”
BusinessWaste.co.uk said that among the problems that could be solved with this camera footage are over-filled bins, waste in the wrong bins, bins that haven’t been put out, and general conduct from bin men on their rounds.
In more than 80 per cent of cases where residents complain about their waste collection services, the resident themselves is found to be at fault, but this doesn’t stop the bin men suffering reputational damage.
Missed collections can also incur wrath from the public directed towards bin men, so body cameras can help to protect them from harm or prove what has happened, as well as showing instances where bins were not collected because they were not put out.
Wigan Council has been trialling body cameras for some of its environmental staff who may come into contact with members of the public breaking the law.
But Karl Battersby, director for economy and environment, said: “There are no current plans for bin men to wear body cameras however our enforcement officers have been trialling them so we can take a more pro-active approach to tackling fly-tipping and other environmental crime.
“This technology will enable us to target hotspot areas and catch repeat offenders so we can ensure we have clean neighbourhoods that we can be proud of.”