News | 18 April 2016

Animal control and parking officers to wear cameras

From Wednesday 20 April, Wellington City Council’s five animal control officers will begin wearing cameras to help protect them in situations where their safety might be at risk.

The Council’s Public Health Manager, Helen Jones, says Wellington and Hutt city councils share the same animal control services and Hutt City animal control officers have been using cameras since July last year.

“Evidence from our Hutt City colleagues suggests the wearing of cameras has resulted in a reduction in incidents becoming more confrontational.

“The cameras will be worn on the outside of the officers’ uniforms next to an ID tag stating they’re wearing a camera. The cameras will only be turned on and the public advised when the officer deems a situation unsafe with the potential for conflict.”

Research has shown when body cameras are worn there is less potential for a situation to escalate and turn aggressive.

“We want to make it clear that these cameras are not going to be used for surveillance and officers have been given training around the types of situations where the camera would need to be turned on,” says Helen Jones.

Guidelines for the collection, storage and use of any personal information captured by the cameras have been developed to be consistent with the Privacy Act 1993.

Wellington City Council Parking Services will also trial wearing cameras in the coming weeks.

Parking Services Manager Michelle Riwai says exactly the same rules of engagement will apply to parking officers as their animal welfare colleagues.

“Again, the cameras on parking officers would not be used for surveillance but for when the officer found themselves in a threatening situation and felt unsafe. The parking officers will also wear an ID tag warning they are wearing a body camera.”