• Media release

19 Dec 2023

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Southland District Council staff will soon be able to wear body cameras for certain public activities.

At a recent meeting Council adopted an amendment to its Privacy Policy which will enable the use of body-worn cameras to manage and mitigate health and safety risks faced by staff and members of the public.

The change has been made following two near-miss incidents that have occurred in the past 12 months while staff have been conducting site visits at private properties required in connection with their roles.

Chief executive Cameron McIntosh said health and safety reporting had identified that customer anger and abuse towards SDC staff had increased.

“The safety of our staff is our first priority when they are required to interact with members of the public. This initiative will help to reduce the risk of abuse and harm and provide impartial evidence of any incidents that arise.”

Mr McIntosh said that bodycams would not be worn routinely during everyday business, but would be available for public-facing staff to use in situations where there was potential for conflict.

To implement the use of bodycams, Council had to first ensure that it remained compliant with the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, the Privacy Act 2020 and its own Privacy Policy.

The cameras will be clearly identifiable when being worn, and staff will be required to verbally disclose that their camera is capturing video footage.

It is expected that the bodycams will come into use early in the new year, once staff training and implementation of new procedures is completed.

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