Body-worn cameras lead to drop in assaults on parking staff in Ipswich
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The use of body-worn cameras has led to a dramatic reduction on the number of assaults on traffic wardens in Ipswich.
According to figures obtained through a freedom of information request, assaults on civil enforcement officers, both physical and verbal,were at their highest between 2015 and 2017.
The number of verbal assaults on officers rose from 11 in 2014 to 21 in 2015, then jumped to 39 in 2017 and 35 in. 2017
Physical assaults were their highest on 2015, when seven officers were physically attacked while doing their job.
However, since the introduction of body-worn cameras last year, verbal assaults on parking staff dropped to 12 in 2018, a 66% reduction.
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Just one civil enforcement officer has been physically assaulted since the cameras were brought in.
A spokesman from the council said: “Verbal assaults where at an all-time high between 2015 – 2017 but there has been a huge improvement since the officers where supplied with body worn video cameras as part of their personal protection equipment.
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“Physical assaults are very rare but do happen.
“All our civil enforcement officers are conflict management trained and are very good at defusing potential physical assaults.
“Ipswich Borough Council has a zero tolerance against verbal and physical assaults.”
The council decided in January 2017 to purchase the body-worn cameras, the same type of camera issued to officers from Suffolk police.
There are currently 17 cameras for use in parking services.
A spokesman for Ipswich Borough Council said he was pleased to hear they were having an impact.
He said: “Our top priority is to protect our staff and we will not tolerate any verbal or physical assaults on them.
“Everyone has a right to undertake their lawful business without feeling threatened by what is a tiny minority of people.
“We issued body-worn cameras to our civil enforcement officers last year and we continue to monitor their effectiveness.
“Obviously, we are pleased there has been a decline in both verbal and physical assaults but we are not complacent and will continue to look at ways of improving safety and preventing this behaviour.”