Recycling centre workers to trial body cameras after increase in attacks

A body camera, similar to those to be worn by council staff

Body-worn cameras will be issued to frontline council staff after a surge in assaults.

The devices will be used by recycling centre workers as part of a 12-week trial, Perth and Kinross Council said.

In the last year, the rate of attacks on skip site crews has more than doubled to 13 from six throughout 2016, a freedom of information request has revealed. There were fewer than five the year before.

Council bosses say they hope the cameras will help curb aggression from members of the public, while protecting staff from “unfounded complaints”.

It is an about-turn for the local authority which said in October it would not follow the example of those in Angus and Fife which issued cameras to their recycling staff.

The vast majority of hostile incidents were recorded at recycling centres, the council said. The trial will be carried out at sites in Kinross and Crieff.

The cameras will only record when activated by staff. They have been instructed to use them if they believe an “inflammatory situation” is developing.

A council spokeswoman said: “Primarily it is hoped the cameras will deter individuals from engaging in antisocial behaviour while also providing documented evidence of violence or aggression.

“Not only has it been shown that the wearing of body cameras reduces assaults by a third, but it also proves essential to criminal proceedings.”

Police Scotland has also estimated similar trial schemes in Aberdeen and Paisley saved more than £140,000 in court, police and prosecution costs.

The council has stressed all footage will be destroyed within 28 days unless needed for evidence.