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Body-worn camera debate to come before ordinary City of Albany council meeting for first time

Stuart McGuckinAlbany Advertiser
The City of Albany Administration and Civic Centre building North Road Albany.
Camera IconThe City of Albany Administration and Civic Centre building North Road Albany. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

There will be another round of debate about the proposed introduction of body-worn cameras for rangers at the City of Albany’s ordinary council meeting on Wednesday.

An agenda item asking councillors to note the introduction of body-worn cameras for use by City rangers has been discussed at the committee level twice, but has yet to be brought in front of the full council.

It prompted an hour-long discussion about transparency and the division of duties between councillors at the Community and Corporate Services committee meeting this month after it was deferred at the corresponding March meeting.

Cr Chris Thomson has foreshadowed an amended motion to be tabled after an alternate motion he put forward at the CCS committee meeting was defeated.

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The alternate motion that was defeated 10-3 at the committee level would have delayed the introduction of body-worn cameras so that the council could determine policy for their use.

The amended motion that has been foreshadowed for Wednesday’s meeting would not delay the introduction of body-worn cameras, but would set in place directions to see the council decide on a body-worn camera policy after a three-month trial.

Cr Thomson’s reasoning states the current recommendation to note the introduction of body-worn cameras did not provide the council with “the opportunity to either endorse or provide feedback on the draft policy”.

“No substantial council debate about the policy would occur, against which to test and potentially modify the administration’s advice,” he said.

“In such a circumstance, the council would waive its responsibility to establish appropriate settings in advancing the safety of the Albany community and authorised officers, delegating this important task to the unelected administration.“

During previous discussions, both members of the City’s administration and council rebutted Cr Thomson’s arguments by suggesting it was an occupational, health and safety matter for the City’s staff, which is beyond the remit of the council.

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