The growing use of Body Worn Cameras in local authorities
Body Worn Cameras (BWCs) are a necessity for local authorities across the UK as transparency, safety of staff & greater accountability become more important for UK councils, as well as the communities they serve.
According to a recent study, 54% of all local UK authorities now equip members of staff or contractors with BWCs. This a substantial increase and step forward since Renfrewshire Council became the first local authority in the UK to record publicly the adoption and use of BWCs back in 2009.
The largest trade union in the UK, further reinforces the need for such devices by stating that the introduction of Body Worn Cameras for its members working in public-facing roles for local UK authorities is necessary to stop the abuse they face as figures showed verbal and physical assaults on staff are growing.
Applications of Body Worn Cameras for local authorities
The usage applications of BWCs has expanded across multiple departments within local authorities. Civil Enforcement Officers, Traffic Wardens, and Environmental Health teams are just some of the departments now using BWCs and more recently, some councils have issued BWCs to Dog Wardens, Health and Safety Officers and Crossing Patrol Supervisors, further proving the versatility of the technology to improve transparency, safety of staff and provide greater accountability.
Over the past few years, Edesix has been working with a growing number of local authorities in the UK, providing BWCs that are proven to dissuade antisocial behavior from members of the public and deter aggression towards staff. Footage obtained from notable incidents are not only used to secure convictions, but can also be used for training and discerning best practice for users. Edesix’s VideoBadge and VideoTag Body Worn Cameras are lightweight, unobtrusive and can be easily fitted to any uniform, vital features that make the daily jobs of those using it much simpler.
All footage and data captured by VideoBadges and VideoTags will be uploaded to VideoManager - a software tool for managing video footage, system users, and the suite of Body Worn Cameras. This web-based back-office gives the user complete control over their entire complement of BWCs, as well as footage from third party cameras, making the creation of evidence-ready footage fast, simple and secure.
Footage and incidents can be shared outside of local authorities using secure links. These links will be traceable within the audit trail, and can be enabled with an expiration date. Any footage requiring escalation can be shared to the relevant parties, and footage from all departments can be managed centrally.
The success of Edesix’s Body Worn Cameras
The London Borough of Bromley reported a significant reduction in the number of incidents since they introduced Edesix’s solution.
Ben Stephens, Parking Manager of London Borough of Bromley said “VideoBadge has helped us to develop a robust, efficient process for dealing with PCN challenges and drive up our standards of communication. This saves us valuable time and money when budgets are tight and local authorities are being urged to do more for less.”
In addition, the presence of the camera also helps to reduce the number of false allegations against enforcement officers and instances of aggression and violence, helping those doing a difficult job feel safer and more protected, particularly when working alone. Claremont Council stated that once informed of the Edesix cameras by officers, people’s attitudes changed dramatically for the better.