Warden abuse will be caught on body cameras in Swansea
TRAFFIC wardens in Swansea are now wearing body cameras to protect themselves against attacks when pounding the pavement.
Swansea Council hopes the cameras — which come with warning notices — will help deter verbal or physical assaults against wardens, but record any that may take place.
A spokesman for Swansea Council said: “The council's civil parking enforcement service has been using ‘body warn video cameras’ to monitor several issues including confrontations by members of the public and have been very beneficial in diffusing potential confrontational issues.
“Officers are obliged to inform members of the public that they are being filmed. One of the main purposes of the cameras is to help deter officers being abused or assaulted.
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“Assault is a criminal offence and should the police wish to use footage in evidence for a prosecution, the film would be made available to them.
“We would always urge people to treat our parking enforcement officers with respect.”
The spokesman confirmed that total of 10 cameras have been purchased at a cost of £6,195. In one year alone (2010-11) there were 73 incidents against traffic wardens.
Ten of these incidents were reported to the police, including one which involved an officer being spat upon, four which were due to threatening and aggressive behaviour and two which were actual assaults. One of the assaults also involved the theft of the officer’s camera and resulted in a conviction.
One warden was even knocked over by a car.
The cameras will also help with investigations of complaints made against any civil enforcement officers employed by the local authority.
Since 2008, when civil parking enforcement was introduced in Swansea, there have been 15 formal complaints against wardens. One complaint was withdrawn, and seven were addressed at the first stage of the complaints process following investigation.
Seven complaints against civil parking enforcement officers were progressed to disciplinary investigation in accordance with the council’s disciplinary procedures.
One was upheld with appropriate sanction in accordance with disciplinary procedures.
In four cases no evidence of wrongdoing was found and two cases are currently being investigated.