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Body camera trial after Norfolk Recycling Center staff abuse

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Body cameras are to be given to staff at recycling centers in Norfolk due to the extent of abuse they have suffered from members of the public.

Norfolk County Council is due to trial the use of body cameras early next year, in an attempt to stem the assault and physical violence workers face.

County Hall bosses warn they will not hesitate to use body camera footage to support prosecutions of people who threaten their staff.

They say that in the past year there have been 17 reported incidents of assault or physical abuse at the council’s 20 recycling centres, and that verbal abuse is “very common”.

The council said disputes are often triggered by payment demands for DIY, construction and demolition waste.

In 2018, DIY waste disposal fees at recycling centers were extended after the council scrapped a concession that meant people could throw away a large item or up to 80 liters of waste at no charge.

The Tory-controlled council is preparing to spend £25,000 on cameras, harnesses, docking stations and software in the hope of deterring such abuse.

Eastern Daily Press: Fee changes for do-it-yourself waste at Norfolk recycling centers will arrive from Monday.  Photo: Ian Burt

The trial will likely take place at the council’s largest recycling centres, such as the two new ones in Norwich, King’s Lynn or Caister.

Eastern Daily Press:

The council says it already uses CCTV footage at the centers to support potential legal action, and that appropriate footage from body cameras could also be used.

A spokesman for the council said: ‘Unfortunately people working on the front line in many sectors can face aggression at work which is totally unacceptable so we are testing the use of body cameras to help the recycling center staff to deal with unpleasant situations.

“Fortunately, the number of serious staff issues in Norfolk is limited, but we’re keen to see if the technology could help the team, as it has already proven useful elsewhere in the country.”

The council says it will be informed by a previous body camera trial carried out several years ago and the use of cameras at other councils, such as in London and Oxfordshire.

Last month, the Norfolk Archaeological Trust revealed that staff at the Caistor Roman Town site would be given body cameras because people threatened them.

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