New body cameras to assist council staff

Gemma Fowle, left, animal welfare officer; Coun Liz Simpson and Paul Turnbull, environmental enforcement officer.
Gemma Fowle, left, animal welfare officer; Coun Liz Simpson and Paul Turnbull, environmental enforcement officer.
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A new tool is being used to help keep officers safe and gather more evidence for potential court cases.

Enforcement officers in Northumberland have started wearing chest mounted cameras in an attempt to keep them safe while out and about in the county.

As well as improving their safety, the equipment will make providing evidence against offenders much more efficient.

Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service, which manages public protection, has purchased seven of the cameras that will be worn by a number of staff members, including environmental enforcement officers and animal welfare officers.

Coun Elizabeth Simpson, chairman of the Safer Northumberland board and deputy business chairman of Northumberland County Council, said: “The new cameras will hopefully be a deterrent against unreasonable behaviour and will ensure transparency for both staff and residents.

“Our officers are out and about in the county every day and they are sometimes subjected to offensive behaviour from members of the public.

“Having the new cameras will hopefully reduce these incidents as people are more likely to think about their actions if they know they’re being recorded.

“They will also make providing evidence much more efficient, meaning it will be quicker and more cost effective to prosecute offenders.”

This type of equipment has already been adopted by other local authorities across England and Scotland.