UNISON backs body worn cameras for Wakefield traffic wardens

Plans to introduce body worn cameras for traffic wardens in Wakefield have been backed by their trade union.

Monday, 25th March 2019, 12:47 pm
Updated Monday, 25th March 2019, 3:13 pm
Wakefield Council will introduce the body worn cameras for wardens following a spike in attacks against them.

UNISON says the measure is necessary to stop the abuse faced by attendants, after figures showed verbal and physical assaults on them has more than doubled in the district.

Wakefield Council will introduce the cameras in the hope it will reduce the number of attacks, and says the welfare of its staff is a "top priority".

UNISON's regional manager, Karen Loughlin, said that the move was welcome, but added that more must be done to change public perceptions about wardens across the country.

UNISON says the public perception of traffic attendants needs to change.

She said: "Body worn cameras have been a response from a number of councils in the hope that it will help confrontations between wardens and members of the public, and in the worst case scenarios provide footage that can be used by prosecutions.

"I think as a health and safety measure they should be introduced.

"Part of the problem is that the public just seems to think that parking attendants are part of a money-making scheme run by councils, and they don't see abusing them as unacceptable.

"But double yellow lines are there for a reason and traffic wardens are just doing their job.

"People need to realise that there is an appeals mechanism there if you think there's been an injustice. Use that route, rather than attacking individuals.

"Unfortunately that message is being lost at the moment."

Ms Loughlin said that while most of the 34 incidents recorded between April 2018 and February this year were verbal assaults, some wardens had suffered trauma as a result of confrontations with aggressive people.

She referenced an incident in the south of England last year where a warden was kicked in the head while doing his job, and warned similar attacks could happen here if the issue wasn't tackled.

She added: "In that instance, the council was really good in terms of seeing to its duty of care to their employee.

"But he was so traumatised he couldn't go back to work as a warden, and he had to redeployed elsewhere within the council.

"This hurts people's families as well, because they have to live with the effects of an attack as well .

"Unfortunately, there's a growing trend of attacks against public servants generally, and it's important that we cut that out."

Local Democracy Reporting Service