Body-Worn Video Cameras - Common Questions

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Why are parking and information officers using the body-worn video cameras?

Parking and information officers are wearing the video cameras to deter verbal and physical abuse directed at them. If officers are exposed to abuse, they will be able to record the interaction. This recording may be provided to the police for investigation and potential prosecution of the offending behaviour.

What is the benefit for the City of Hobart and the public?

The City of Hobart is committed to ensuring its staff can perform their roles in a safe workplace. Research on the body-worn cameras has shown they are effective in protecting officers and members of the public, as well as improving the behaviour of both. A recording will also provide an independent perspective.

Do the parking and information officers have to tell someone they are being recorded?

Yes. The body-worn cameras are never to be used secretly. Officers will always try to ensure people understand they are being recorded. As well as ensuring privacy rights are respected, informing people they are being filmed is designed to de-escalate a situation and calm behaviour. Officers will also be wearing signage to inform people that video cameras are being used.

Has the City of Hobart trialled the body-worn video cameras?

Yes. In December 2016, the City of Hobart conducted a two-month trial of the cameras. During the trial, there were no reportable incidents directed at those officers wearing the cameras, and yet abusive incidents towards other officers continued. Feedback received from members of the public indicated a high level of support for the cameras.

Which officers will be using body-worn cameras?

All City of Hobart parking and information officers performing parking enforcement duties will use the body-worn video cameras. This includes officers on foot, motorcycles and in cars.  

Will officers be trained to use the cameras?

Yes. Officers will undertake specific training that includes the legal requirements and policy guidelines for proper use, product training and conflict management.  

How do the body-worn cameras work? Will they always be on?

The body-worn cameras are on officers’ chests and operate in stand-by mode. They will only record when officers push the record button.

When activated, the cameras record high-definition vision and audio. Cameras will ‘back capture’ 30 seconds of vision before the recording is initiated.

All recordings are the property of the City of Hobart and officers must download them to a secure computer-based management system at the end of their shifts.

Do officers have discretion about when to start and stop recording?

Yes. The over-riding principle is for officers to feel safe in their workplace. If officers feel their safety is at risk from verbal or physical threats or abuse, they are expected to start recording at the earliest opportunity. Officers should keep recording until they have either removed themselves from the situation or the offending behaviour stops.

What kind of body-worn cameras will be used?

Axon Body 2 cameras from Axon Public Safety Australia Pty Ltd. 

Are there privacy issues?

Yes. There are strict protocols in place for using the cameras in public and private places. Officers will try to alert the person they are interacting with that they are being recorded as well as anyone else nearby.

All footage will be managed and secured in accordance with current retention policies.

What happens to the content recorded and what will it be used for?

Recordings will be uploaded to a secure cloud-based platform. The platform is auditable, ensuring every action taken on any data file is fully accountable. The recording will only be used for the purpose it was collected or for any other use authorised or required by law, including law enforcement. 

Any recording made that is not subjected to a police investigation or public complaint, will not be retained.

Will recordings be publically accessible?

Retained recordings will be subject to the Right To Information Act 2009 and members of the public may make a Right to Information application to see footage, subject to disclosure exemption provisions.

Legislation

Body-worn video cameras will only be used in accordance with the provisions of the Listening Devices Act 1991 (Tas) and the City of Hobart Surveillance Policy.

The relevant legislation applicable to the proper use of body-worn video cameras is:

  • Listening Devices Act 1991 (Tas)

  • Right To Information Act 2009

  • Personal Information Protection Act 2004 (Tas)