Borough local authority workers to be kitted out with cameras

Police have been using body cameras for several years and local authorities are catching up fast
Police have been using body cameras for several years and local authorities are catching up fast

Frontline Wigan Council enforcement officers are to wear body cameras in a bid to improve evidence-gathering and the safety of staff and residents.

Cabinet members have approved the introduction of Body-Worn Video (BWV) following a successful trial period to aid the prevention, detection and prosecution of environmental crimes such as fly-tipping within the borough.

Not only will it help clamp down on those who flout the law but also protect employees if they face aggressive and threatening behaviour at work.

The use of BWVs has seen a big increase with many other local authorities dealing with enforcement activities already demonstrating the positives of widespread use.

The device will be clearly marked and officers will inform an individual that a recording is taking place prior to the BWV’s being switched on.

Council environment director Paul Barton said: “Ensuring our streets are clean and tidy is a huge priority for us and we hope the Body Worn Video will contribute to this. The use of body cameras should help increase public confidence in the way we collect evidence and hopefully help modify behaviour by implementing a more pro-active approach to tackling environmental crimes.

“As well as gaining vital footage for possible prosecution, we want to ensure our hard-working teams can do their job without fear and help keep members of the public safe.”

Coun Carl Sweeney, the authority’s cabinet member for environment, said: “These devices will ensure staff can do their jobs safely and effectively. Sometimes they are faced with abusive and aggressive situations and as a council we have a duty of care to all our staff.

“But the Body-Worn Video also provides protection for those who might be accused of doing wrong so it’s a welcome move for everyone.”

To ensure security, recordings will be held and managed securely with access controlled by designated officers with authorisation to view specific incidents. BWV will be used in accordance with Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996, General Data Protection Regulation 2018, Human Rights Act 1998 and Freedom of Information Act 2000.