The council has been investigating the use of body cameras to support enforcement activity over recent months. The COVID 19 measures caused a delay in some of the necessary risk assessments that are required ahead of deploying body cams in the community. The final requirements in terms of data use and notification that body cams will be in operation have been addressed and are currently being consulted upon.
The COVID 19 measures resulted in a delay in the pilot for the PSPO enforcement by District, whose employees will be wearing body cams. With the relaxation of measures under COVID 19 and the recent good weather, the coast and countryside have become a popular destination with the added pressure from littering and other offences because visitors cannot consume food or drink inside establishments. There has been a greater need for advice, support and enforcement in the community with an increase in incidents that would have been less confrontational if body cams had been deployed to reassure employees and the public.
The trigger for bringing the deployment forward and completing the necessary risk assessment was the serious assault of an employee.
When considering CCTV, body worn video, etc, the Authority must have regard to the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice issued by the Surveillance Camera Commissioner.
There are 12 guiding principles to the code including requirements that the use of a system is consistent with a legitimate aim and a pressing need, that the system takes into account the effect of the CCTV on individuals and their privacy and that the purpose of the system is justifiable.
Councillor Roger Small, Chair of the Operational Management Committee for Fylde Council said: “Following the unprovoked assault on our dog warden last week we have moved quickly to look to introduce body cams for our staff who may come into contact with the public in challenging circumstances. We will not tolerate anti social behaviour and will actively prosecute persons engaged in illegal activities. This will aid our staff going about their roles.”
The item will be heard at the meeting of the Operational Management Committee on Tuesday 9th June. If approved by the committee the details of the public consultation will be published on our website www.fylde.gov.uk.