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Albany council to consider endorsement of ranger body-worn camera trial

Stuart McGuckinAlbany Advertiser
Rangers for the City of Albany could soon be equipped body-worn cameras if council endorse a three-month trial next week.
Camera IconRangers for the City of Albany could soon be equipped body-worn cameras if council endorse a three-month trial next week. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

Rangers for the City of Albany could soon be equipped with body cameras if the council endorses a three-month trial next week.

The proposed trial was discussed at the committee level last week, the officer’s report recommending council note the introduction of body cameras for “use and evaluation” by the City’s rangers.

The report notes the use of body cameras was first recommended in 2018 by the consultant that compiled the Albany Rangers OSH Risk Review Report.

“The consultant recommended that body-worn cameras be used as they have been proven to reduce the risk of verbal and physical abuse directed at rangers and other authorised City staff undertaking their duties in the wider community,” the officer’s report said.

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“Body-worn cameras may also improve the safety of community members by ensuring transparency and accountability of authorised officers in their interactions with members of the community.”

The City of Perth, Town of Claremont and the shires of Toodyay and Wyndham-East Kimberley are among the WA councils that already use body-worn cameras.

The officer’s report notes there could be major legal and compliance consequences of any unauthorised use of the cameras, but a set of policies and procedures have been developed to guide their use to help ensure a “rare” likelihood.

Feedback from rangers and the community will inform any necessary changes to the policy and procedures after the proposed three-month trial period.

The officer’s report states the City intends to deploy the cameras on a permanent basis to rangers beyond the trial period as well as making them available “other authorised persons”.

“The evaluation period will provide an opportunity to ensure that policies and procedures related to the use of body worn cameras are appropriate,” the report said.

Five body-worn cameras were already purchased by the City in 2020 for about $12,000, including all the required hardware, software and licensing, but have not been used “due to delays with the establishment of the policy and procedure documents”.

The council will consider the trial at its ordinary meeting on March 28.

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