Aggressive motorists who challenge and threaten enforcement officers may soon find their behaviour is caught on camera.
Cheshire East Council’s parking enforcement teams may be issued with body cameras in line with many other local authorities, in a bid to protect themselves in the event of volatile parking disputes.
Use of the cameras is to be trialled by a small number of enforcement officers and if they are found to be of value, the Council may choose to issue them on a regular basis to all members of the civil enforcement team.
The Council says it is about protecting Cheshire East residents as well as the Council’s traffic patrols.
The civil enforcement officers are responsible for enforcing parking regulations both on street and off street and occasionally become the target for abuse.
The cameras would capture crucial evidence in the event of a confrontation or assault and it is hoped their use will deter motorists or members of the public from using abusive behaviour towards civil enforcement officers.
Councillor Les Gilbert, Cabinet member for communities and enforcement, said: “We are an enforcing authority and we will not tolerate the appalling behaviour and abuse that some of our enforcement offices have been subjected to.
“Fortunately incidents of abuse or violence towards our teams in Cheshire East are few and far between.
“However, we cannot deny that there have been one or two pretty unpleasant events where capturing the evidence on camera would have helped to prosecute an offender.
“Our civil enforcement officers do an excellent job in enforcing parking regulations for the benefit of our residents, some of whom have expressed their frustrations to the Council when witnessing motorists who flagrantly breach on-street and off-street parking orders, including taking up blue badge spaces for the disabled.
“They also do an excellent job in helping the public with advice and information, even first aid, and do not deserve to suffer abuse or assault.”
Many authorities across the country are now using body worn cameras and they are known to prove extremely effective in reducing the number of incidents involving abusive and aggressive behaviour.
The Council will trial the cameras for an indeterminate period before deciding if they should be used on a permanent basis.