Parking attendants to wear body cameras after rise in abuse in Barking and Dagenham

A rise in the number of incidents of abuse towards at parking attendants has prompted the council to equip them with personal cameras.

It is hoped equipping civil enforcement officers with the devices will bring down the level of abuse and make parking enforcement more transparent.

Last year there were 13 reported incidents of violence and threatening behaviour towards officers, up on 10 the year before, though the council stresses these are only the figures reported to police and that there could be many more.

Cllr Jeanne Alexander, cabinet member for crime, justice and communities, said: “We have a zero tolerance policy against abuse of our staff and their safety is priority. Any form of abuse is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

“Using body cameras means that officers will have the evidence first hand and it also sends out a clear message that we take this issue very seriously and will not hesitate to bring people to book for abusing our employees.”

The durable, waterproof devices consist of a recorder and camera and will capture footage the officer sees. This is then timed, dated and stored in a safe and secure environment.

As well as recording evidence of any abusive encounter, it will also provide a secure audit trail which can be used if a motorist appeals against a charge notice.

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A council spokesman said the use of video recording of parking contraventions will not supercede other types of evidence such as written notes.

She added that the absence of a video recording of a contravention will not result in the penalty charge notice being invalid or incorrect.

The technology is not planned for use in covert operations.