Cambridge council workers to wear body cams

An example of bodycams, often worn in America Image credit: Utility_Inc

Cambridge City’s frontline council workers will wear body cameras, after it was revealed that 75% of their interactions with the public resulted in them being subject to verbal abuse.

The Labour-controlled Council unanimously approved a proposal to introduce body worn cameras for Cambridge’s Environmental Enforcement Officers, who deal with dog fouling, littering, and punt touting.

Cllr Lewis Herbert, leader of the Council, said: “Our enforcement officers play a vital role in keeping Cambridge cleaner, greener and safer for both residents and visitors but they are also often at the sharp end in dealing with difficult and sometimes confrontational situations.

“The use of body worn cameras has been shown to help de-escalate many potentially volatile situations as well as providing clear evidence where complaints or challenges are made, in the interests of all involved.”

Liberal Democrat councillors successfully pushed for members of the public to be able to ask that interactions between them and Environmental Enforcement Officers be recorded.

Lib Dem Cllr Tim Bick told Cambridge News “we clearly want to support our officers, but complaints against them can be made and there might be two sides to the question. It’s our duty to ensure fair play all round. If recorded evidence is possible, it shouldn’t be just one way traffic.”

However, Herbert stressed that the Council will be subject to firm controls: “We have learned a lot from the experience of the police in implementing body worn cameras, and council use will be subject to strict policies including that we will also report back on them annually.

“This will be a positive addition to help tackle environmental crime, deal with offences fairly and make Cambridge safer for all.” 

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