24/7 body cams to protect Lismore council workers

13th September 2017 5:00 AM
Lismore City Council Ranger Craig Devonshire with the new body cameras worn by compliance staff. Lismore City Council Ranger Craig Devonshire with the new body cameras worn by compliance staff.

LISMORE City Council compliance staff will permanently wear body cameras in a bid to prevent intense situations.

The decision was made following a successful six-month trial of the surveillance equipment among compliance staff including rangers and environmental health compliance officers.

The cameras are used whenever a staff member is engaged to undertake an activity - from picking up a dangerous dog to issuing a parking fine - and the footage is then stored in an off-site location to prevent tampering.

Each of the high-definition cameras can record 21 hours of video and audio, and Compliance Coordinator Matt Kelly said often simply having the cameras switched on can de-escalate potentially volatile scenarios.

"Everyone tends to act more reasonably when they know they are being recorded - the cameras can often take the heat out of a situation because people are more conscious and aware of their actions," Mr Kelly said.

"From both a staff perspective and for members of the public, it provides transparency and ensures everyone is 100% accountable for their behaviour."

He said neighbouring councils had shown interest in the technology and noted the trial had already been met with "very positive" feedback and approval by the community and staff.

"We want our community members to feel protected and we also want our staff to feel secure in performing their duties.

"The body cameras are a simple and effective way to provide peace of mind for everyone."