New body worn video cameras keeping parking officers safe in Sheffield

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Sheffield City Council is taking action to prevent anti-social behaviour towards its team of Civil Enforcement Officers by issuing them with Body Worn Video cameras.

The council’s Parking Services Civil Enforcement Officers – who tackle the city’s problem parkers to keep the city moving and school children safe – have recently started wearing the light-weight devices, attached to their jacket pockets.

The team, which operates across the city, can often encounter difficult situations in the course of their day-to-day activities. Civil Enforcement Officers can now choose when to film using the state-of-the-art devices – and material can be used in criminal proceedings if necessary.

Between 2011 and 2015, the number of violent incidents against civil enforcement officers increased year on year. During 2014/15, 76 incidents were reported, which is more than twice the number of those reported in 2011/12.

Councillor Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for Transport and Sustainability, said:

“I am so pleased that we are rolling out these body worn cameras across the whole team. we acknowledge the incredibly valuable job done by our civil enforcement officers.

“Our traffic officers help keep us all safe. They make sure that our children can get to school safely and that emergency vehicles can get where they need to go.

“The safety of our staff is absolutely vital. We have a zero tolerance approach to all aggression and we will not tolerate any acts of verbal or physical abuse whatsoever. These cameras are a vital way for us to keep our hardworking staff safe.”

The devices can capture high-quality images close up, including audio recording, and work at night in low light.

The cameras won’t be used to provide evidence to support issuing Parking Fines. They are solely for the prevention and detection of crime. They are visible on an officer’s uniform.

The Civil Enforcement Officers have received training in the use of the body-worn cameras, and the devices are only used when the officer feels under threat. The cameras won’t be constantly running. Devices are securely encrypted and they are password protected, so if stolen data is secure and can’t be deleted. They’re also very robust and damaging the device won’t stop the footage from being usable.

These cameras complement the other safety equipment officers are issued with, such as the Airwaves Two Way radio system which connects Civil Enforcement Officers direct to South Yorkshire Police control, so in the case of a serious incident police can be dispatched immediately.

 

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Crackdown on illegal tattooists

tattooistMy Environmental Health Officers and police have joined forces to urge members of the public to attend registered tattoo studios following raids on eight illegal tattooists working from their own homes in the past year.

Sheffield City Council’s Health and Safety Enforcement Team, accompanied by officers from South Yorkshire Police, seized tattoo machines, needles and inks from the unregistered tattooists using their homes in the Jordanthorpe, Parson Cross, Stocksbridge, High Green and Hillsborough areas of Sheffield.

The raids were carried out after council officers received information from members of the public about children as young as 13 years old being tattooed at home addresses. Officers had also been made aware of a man who was hospitalised suffering from hepatitis C after having three tattoos inked by an unregistered tattooist.

None of the tattooists had proper licences from the council. Under the law anyone found acting as an unlicensed tattooist can face fines of up to £1,000 if convicted by magistrates.

Councillor Jack Scott, Sheffield City Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Recycling and Streetscene, said:

“Officers register and inspect tattoo and piercing premises to ensure they reach the required hygiene standards. Although we have found this is not a bigger problem in Sheffield compared to other cities, we are taking a proactive approach to clamping down on illegal activity.

“We found evidence of poor hygiene standards with disposable needles being reused, leading to a risk of dangerous infection and blood borne diseases such as hepatitis B and C and HIV being passed on.

“Home tattooists, known as scratchers, have little or no experience of infection control. They purchase their equipment cheaply from the internet and often advertise their activities on social networking sites.

“The safest thing is for everyone wanting a tattoo or piercing is to go to a registered studio. Legitimate owners display a certificate from the council on the premises to reassure customers they are safe.”

I’m urging people to continue to come forward with information about possible illegal tattooists working from residential properties to help the council and police.

For more information or to report an unregistered tattooist call Sheffield City Council Health and Safety on (0114) 273 5774 / 273 4415 or email healthprotection@sheffield.gov.uk.