Community Safety Officers to begin body worn camera trial

Published on 06 December 2021

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Council’s Community Safety Officers have begun trialling the use of body worn cameras as part of their standard uniform, when out in the field.

The cameras will be secured on vests, reducing the amount of additional equipment required and will make Council’s Community Safety Officers easily identifiable when out in the community.

Community Safety Officers are tasked with many varying challenges on a day-to-day basis, these can range from stray animal pickups, and securing wandering livestock, to dog attacks, illegal burning off and illegal rubbish dumping.

In these instances and more, the cameras will be used when responding to calls or potentially hazardous situations.

The equipment will also assist the officers in obtaining information and evidence in a safer, more efficient way, while helping keep the community safe. Cameras will also be used when attending afterhours calls, where built-in GPS tracking will improve safety for our officers.

Evidence from other councils using similar equipment has shown that body-worn cameras can de-escalate situations if officers are called out to an incident involving aggressive behaviour, including physical and verbal.

There has also been evidence from other councils to suggest that the use of body-worn cameras helps increase community confidence.

Data recorded by the cameras will be managed in line with relevant government legislation and Council’s privacy policy.

Yarra Ranges Mayor, Cr Jim Child, said the new equipment would assist Council’s Community Safety Officers greatly when going about their work in the field.

“It’s all about safety, not just for our staff but for the community,” Cr Child said.

“The wearing of cameras also provides our officers with great learning opportunities, as it enables them to re-watch and review recordings of incidents to see what, if any, adjustments could be made in future situations.

“It also provides greater transparency around how incidents occur and how they are resolved.

“While the cameras won’t necessarily be switched on at all times, it is great that our officers now have that option to quickly begin recording information which can help in situations that require quick action.”