BODY cameras are now being worn by traffic wardens operating in Strabane town centre.
The introduction of the mobile recording devices comes just months after one of their colleagues was subjected to a serious assault while on duty in the town.
In April this year the PSNI confirmed it was investigating the circumstances of
a brawl in broad daylight involving a traffic warden and member of the public
which took place in Abercorn Square.
A recording of the incident showed the two men violently grappling with one another
in a doorway. The police investigation remains ongoing.
But this isn’t an isolated incident and traffic wardens are regularly the subject of verbal or physical assaults.
As well as providing additional protection for the attendants, the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) says the cameras will address any allegations made against traffic wardens about their conduct.
“The camera recording provides real time evidence of the interactions between
the attendants and members of the public,” a spokesperson said.
Figures obtained by the Chronicle from DfI show that since the start of 2017 there have been five recorded incidents of physical assaults on traffic wardens in Strabane.
In addition, during the same period there have been 12 complaints made against attendants, including one from a local trader, and a total of almost 4,000 penalty notices issued.
Martin Gallen, president of the Strabane Chamber of Commerce said that, while there was a perception of some traffic wardens being ‘over-zealous’ in their approach, the bodycameras would help to protect both them and members of the public.
“The bodycams will provide real evidence of the dealings between the traffic
wardens and the public and offer reassurance to all sides if there is an argument,” he said.
“The evidence which is gathered by the cameras cannot be interfered with and I would welcome the fact that they’re now being used for the protection of everyone.
“Being a traffic warden isn’t the most popular role to be carrying out within the
town centre, but this is absolutely no reason for them to be assaulted and any assault
is totally unacceptable,” he said.
“They are going about their business fairly and decently, we are all old enough
now to know the rules about where to park and for how long and the fact that if they’re broken then
Posted: 4:00 pm August 10, 2019