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Council staff protected from ‘legal issues’ arising from wearing body cameras

THE use of body worn video cameras by council staff now has a formal policy and procedure in place to protect from any legal issues.

Ceredigion County Council’s cabinet approved the policy and procedure to ensure good practice and that legislative obligations are met when using the technology.

It is used as part of the council’s regulatory and enforcement functions, with use increasing incrementally of recent years, particularly in the parking enforcement field, a report to Tuesday’s (September 1) virtual cabinet states.

Cabinet member with responsibility for public protection Cllr Gareth Lloyd added body worn cameras have been used by parking enforcement officers who “are subject to obvious challenges through the nature of their work.”

The adoption of use in public protection work has had multiple benefits he added, being used as a “health and safety aid to diffuse potential and actual aggressive behaviour from members of the public.”

It also always service complaints and health and safety threats to be determined, and used as evidence in annual welfare prosecutions of if officer behaviour allegations are made, the meeting heard.

As their use increases not having a corporate police leaves the council at risk if it is challenged on meeting legal requirements, said Cllr Lloyd.

Council leader Cllr Ellen ap Gwynn added: “It’s important we have this policy to protect our staff that use it.”

The new document outlines when and how the body worn cameras can be used and will safeguard the public and staff, taking into account the General Data Processing Regulations (GDPR).

Staff will use the equipment in line with policy, receive full instructions and its use will be monitored.

Relevant legislation includes the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act, Human Rights Act and Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.

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