Ryde City Council’s Manager of Ranger and Parking Services Leon Marskell with one of the new personal safety camera cameras to be carried by parking rangers. TWT on-the-spot PHOTO
Ryde City Council parking rangers are now armed with pocket cameras.
In an exclusive interview with The Weekly Times the Council’s Manager of Ranger and Parking Services Leon Marskell confirmed the use of the cameras and that Ryde is one of the first council’s in Australia to use them.
The issue of rangers using ‘spy cameras’ was raised at last Tuesday night’s Ryde City Council meeting by Clr Geoff Salvestro-Martin.
Mr Marskell stressed the cameras aren’t spy cameras and will not be used as revenue raising equipment.
“These cameras are not covert and will be used to caution people by rangers who feel threatened,” he said.
“To use a camera the ranger must first caution a person and let them know the camera is being used.
“And the cameras will only be used when complaints become defamatory and where threats are made.”
Mr Marskell cited examples where rangers have been threatened with rape and murder as well as cases of serious physical assault.
“We need to be able to support our staff and what I’m concerned about is the severity of the assaults such as rangers being hit, bitten or have people spitting in their face,” he said.
Camera footage can be used in a court and will monitor the rangers behaviour as well as the behaviour of the alleged offenders.
In such cases, camera footage can also determine right and wrong in where it is the offender’s word against the ranger’s word.
“These devices will show if the ranger is right,” he said.
“And we will use this as a training device as well where we can see our own behaviour.”
Sensitive camera footage of residents will not be shown to council staff.
“There’s only one person in the council with the right to view this and that is me,” Mr Marskell said.
Mr Marskell also refuted rumours that Ryde’s rangers are under pressured to meet a quota of fines or a remunerated on a performance based agreement.
The cameras used in Ryde were first used in Britain where police officers faced assault from football hooligans and other rioters.