PARKING OFFICERS are taking to Portsmouth’s streets with cameras to stop violence against them.
The city’s 38 parking enforcement officers will be sent out with video cameras clipped on to their breast pockets.
Portsmouth City Council, which employs the officers, has spent £6,720 on the 12 cameras, after 15 assaults were reported on them in the last year.
The assaults include people spitting at the staff, as well as physical attacks, and in five cases officers were injured.
The council’s parking team manager Michael Robinson said: ‘It’s a very small amount when you consider we issued 44,000 penalty notices last year, but even one attack is unacceptable. These cameras will help protect our staff from attack, or record evidence for court.’
In one incident last year, a driver ticketed outside a school drove off, clipping the officer with the car. Had it been recorded, the footage could have been used as evidence in court.
Mr Robinson said: ‘The priority is to stop this sort of thing happening. But if not, we’ll use the footage in court.’
The cameras will be visible, and will have ‘video recording’ written on them.
In the event of a confrontation, an officer will tell the person involved they are turning the camera on, which is hoped will be enough to calm the situation.
Mr Robinson said: ‘The person will be able to see the screen, so they can see they’re being filmed. We understand people get frustrated if they get a penalty notice for parking. They get annoyed with themselves, which we can see. But it’s not reasonable for them to attack our staff.’