Use of body cameras praised as attacks on Dundee parking attendants fall

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Body-worn cameras could be the reason the number of attacks carried out on parking attendants in Dundee has halved, it has been claimed.

In 2015, there were 24 incidents where staff enforcing parking regulations were either verbally threatened or physically assaulted.

However, last year, that number dropped to 11.

A Dundee City Council report in 2013/2014 noted that the introduction of body cameras had helped to reduce the number of attacks on parking attendants and it appears that trend is continuing.

David Smith, head of public affairs at the British Parking Association, said: “The BPA is encouraged to see a reduction in the number of assaults reported to have been carried out on Dundee City Council parking attendants.

“The use of body-worn cameras for parking enforcement is a good first step, but it is only solving part of the problem.

“There needs to be more thought on tackling the underlying issues that give rise to assaults, such as lack of parking provision or inconsiderate parking by other motorists.”

Stuart Fairweather, branch chairman of the Unite union, which represents parking attendants in Dundee, said: “What is apparent is that there is increasing issues with parking in the areas surrounding the city centre and that’s got the potential for flashpoints.”

After retrieving the figures through Freedom of Information legislation, Dundee City Council clarified that “all incidents are mainly verbal threatening but some are of a physical nature, such as pushing or threatening violence”.

Jim McFarlane, chairman of the Dundee Unison branch — who also represent some attendants in the city — said: “Body-worn cameras might have something to do with it.

“The figures sound positive but no one should be facing physical or verbal threats at work so there’s certainly more that can be done.”

A Dundee City Council spokeswoman said: “Council staff should not have to face abuse or violence as they go about their jobs.

“We do not tolerate this sort of unacceptable behaviour.

“Parking restrictions are in place to help ensure safety for pedestrians and motorists and our attendants play an important role in ensuring road users are not put at risk.”

Civil liberties group warns over use of body cameras used by Dundee council staff