Parking officers were fitted with cameras in mid-2016 to test the effectiveness of available equipment, the operational impacts of the cameras on the parking officers, and the effect on public behaviour towards parking officers.
“Evidence suggests the cameras act as a deterrent. People are less likely to become abusive or violent when they are aware they are being filmed,” says City Council Parking Services Manager Michelle Riwai.
The Council's parking officers will start wearing the cameras this week. The purchase of the cameras and supporting equipment has cost about $83,000.
Councillor Chris Calvi-Freeman, the City Council’s Transport Strategy Portfolio Leader, says effective parking enforcement is essential for the wellbeing of the city’s retailers and business community, and for road safety.
“Our parking officers help to support our city’s businesses by ensuring that short-term parking spaces are not monopolised log-term. They also work to discourage motorists from parking dangerously or inconsiderately.
“Our parking officers are trained in first-aid, incident detection and conflict minimisation, and they willingly assist Wellington’s residents and visitors by providing directions to and advice about local amenities. Incidents of serious abuse of parking officers are thankfully rare, but these new cameras will help us keep our officers and our city safe.”
How does it work?
The camera will only be activated when an interaction becomes confrontational and the officer feels unsafe. When this happens, officers will advise the person the camera is operating. The camera has a front-facing screen. Members of the public can see their ‘live’ image and know they are being recorded.
All footage will be held securely. Video footage will be deleted after 48 hours, unless the footage is deemed worth keeping, in which case it will be held on file for one month and then reviewed. The new cameras will not be used to gather infringement evidence.