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'It is our duty to protect them' - plans for traffic wardens to wear body cameras given green light

PUBLISHED: 21:30 23 July 2019 | UPDATED: 09:49 24 July 2019

Great Yarmouth Borough Council has given the go-ahead to proposals which will see council workers wear body cameras to protect themselves from abuse. Picture: Nick Butcher.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council has given the go-ahead to proposals which will see council workers wear body cameras to protect themselves from abuse. Picture: Nick Butcher.

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A Norfolk council has given the green light to plans which will see traffic wardens and other council workers wear body cameras to protect themselves against violent attacks and abuse.

Deputy leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, Graham Plant, described the lack of sales as embarrassing. Picture: Ella WilkinsonDeputy leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, Graham Plant, described the lack of sales as embarrassing. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

The scheme proposed by Great Yarmouth Borough Council was unanimously agreed by council members at a meeting at the Town Hall on Tuesday night.

Traffic wardens, planning enforcement officers, environmental rangers and housing caretakers are among the officers at Great Yarmouth Borough Council who will be provided with the technology.

The scheme, which is set to be rolled out across the borough within three months, will cost an initial £21,615.

Deputy leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, Graham Plant, emphasised the importance of the cameras.

Colleen Walker councillor for Labour in Great Yarmouth. Picture: George Ryan.Colleen Walker councillor for Labour in Great Yarmouth. Picture: George Ryan.

He said: "It is not right that staff come to work and are abused.

"The cameras will be really important in helping to protect workers and will deter people from carrying out threatening behaviour."

The meeting of the council's policy and resources committee heard that there had been no particular incident which had lead to the proposal being put forward but council workers were "up against it" when dealing with abuse from members of the public.

Footage from the body cameras will be stored at a CCTV control centre managed by the Borough Council of West Norfolk and King's Lynn which already uses the technology.

A traffic warden handing out a parking ticket. Picture:  Anthony KellyA traffic warden handing out a parking ticket. Picture: Anthony Kelly

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Councillor Colleen Walker, who also sits on the committee, said: "I'm really pleased this has been agreed.

"It is our duty to protect them.

"It is disappointing it takes a measure like this to deter people from abusing staff but we live in a time when nobody is particularly safe."

Mrs Walker said she had seen incidents outside schools where traffic wardens had been confronted by angry parents after their parking had been challenged. The 34 members of frontline staff who will be equipped with the cameras are to be trained on how to use them appropriately.

Civil liberties group Big Brother Watch had previously expressed concern about footage being used as evidence in allegations of fly-tipping and parking violations.

The Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk is the only local authority in the county providing staff with body-worn cameras.

Norfolk Police started wearing such cameras two years ago.

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