Clare­mont rangers to wear cam­eras

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - By GIO­VANNI TORRE

CLARE­MONT rangers and park­ing of­fi­cers will wear cam­eras while on duty, mak­ing them among the first lo­cal govern­ment em­ploy­ees in WA to do so.

The an­nounce­ment came two days af­ter a man driv­ing a Mercedes al­legedly rammed and pinned a park­ing in­spec­tor with his car in Fre­man­tle.

The de­ci­sion to in­tro­duce the cam­eras came be­fore the Fre­man­tle in­ci­dent, with Clare­mont coun­cil vot­ing unan­i­mously at its June 27 coun­cil meet­ing to pur­chase six body-worn cam­eras (BWCS), fol­low­ing a suc­cess­ful four-month trial ear­lier this year.

The bud­get for the project was ap­proved on Tues­day night and the cam­eras will be in op­er­a­tion by the end of Au­gust.

The cam­eras, which record au­dio as well as vi­sion when ac­ti­vated, are widely used in law en­force­ment through­out Aus­tralia.

Clare­mont Mayor Jock Barker said the cam­eras would be a wel­come ad­di­tion to the Town’s Com­mu­nity Safety Pro­gram and pro­vide as much of a de­ter­rent as CCTV.

“The BWCS have been im­ple­mented for three key rea­sons – to record and store in­for­ma­tion, pro­vide an ad­di­tional level of safety for our of­fi­cers and res­i­dents and to mon­i­tor our cus­tomer ser­vice per­for­mance,” he said.

“Un­for­tu­nately, it is a com­mon oc­cur­rence for our of­fi­cers to re­port ver­bal abuse, of­ten up to four times a week.

“Since we have un­der­taken the trial, we have found peo­ple’s at­ti­tude changes dra­mat­i­cally once the of­fi­cers in­form them of the cam­era.”

The Town has de­vel­oped guide­lines and pro­ce­dures to man­age the use of the cam­eras, which will only be switched to record “when the of­fi­cer is at­tend­ing a com­plaint, is ap­proached by a per­son in an ag­i­tated or ag­gres­sive man­ner, or if they wit­ness an in­ci­dent where footage may pro­vide ev­i­dence as an of­fence”.

Of­fi­cers will in­form mem­bers of the pub­lic if they are be­ing recorded.

Mr Barker said the tech­nol­ogy com­ple­mented the Town’s Cau­tion First pro­gram, which re­duced the num­ber of in­fringe­ments within the Town by more than 300 in the first month, and cau­tions rose to 77 per cent of all no­tices given.

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