Traffic control involves directing pedestrians and vehicles around events such as an accident, construction zone or road repair, thus ensuring the safety of all road users and response teams.
Unfortunately, traffic controllers are often receiving abuse, being spat on, pelted with objects and even get caught up in physical violence by impatient, negligent or drunk drivers (The Cairns Post).
CFMEU NSW state secretary Brian Parker has also stated that “They stand outside all day in all sorts of weather and they cop abuse from the public." Traffic controllers are able to report such incidents but nothing ends up happening as they are not allowed to use their phones to take a video/photo for evidence due to safety concerns.
Speeding through worksites is one of the more dangerous concerns as it makes the job unsafe for traffic controllers. Many traffic controllers have tragically died after they have been truck by a car such as Ken Altoft who was working on the Bruce Hwy at Tanawha and Ben Smit at Redbank Plains in Australia.
Basically, road workers have to deal with the abuse and get on with their job which is not good enough.
THE NEED FOR A BODY CAMERA
Overwatch Security believes that the introduction of Body Worn Cameras into the field will help deter these incidents from occurring as all footage will be captured, including audio from a hands free device. The footage from the body camera can then be used in court for more serious matters and can add to evidence when they file a complaint.
Many traffic controllers and road workers conduct their duties in public spaces where there is "no law in Australia that prohibits you from filming in a public place without asking for permission. This extends to recording buildings, sites, and even people" (Lawpath). Evidence can easily be administered and used in court with the many civilians being aware of this which is positive.
A study conducted by the City of Rialto concluded that when their officers were wearing body cameras on shifts, police use of force against suspects was 50% lower and complaints against the police fell to almost zero within 12 months. When the suspect knows they are being recorded, they often think twice before doing anything questionable or against the law.
Similarly, this can extend to traffic control and road workers in all areas of Australia. Angry drivers will think twice before abusing or spitting on people doing their job when they can see a body camera recording the encounter.
Many other articles boast about the positive benefits of body worn cameras in numerous other fields of work such as ticket inspectors, ambulance and patient transport, health and safety inspectors, bus drivers, rubbish collectors, parks rangers and more.
OUR BODY CAMERAS
There are many different ways to roll out a body camera fleet for a traffic management company. Companies can either let their workers keep the body camera, take care of it (recharge the unit) and download footage as required. Alternately, they can setup a central point of location where the all body cameras are returned at the end of their shift to be recharged and footage to be saved if required. 8-Port charging stations can help with this option.
Body cameras can be attached to clothing, however, we recommend load bearing vests, chest harnesses or shoulder harnesses if you don't already own one. This can secure your body camera in place and will reduce a droop effect which can be caused when wearing loose clothing.
Many body cameras on the market are quite durable and weather resistant which is perfect for traffic controllers. Our body cams support a 3m drop impact, are resistant to all weather conditions which you will be involved in and have a working temperature of -20~60°C.
Many body cameras also include car chargers and individual docking stations which will help you recharge on the go. Our units support a run time of 8-14 hours depending on recording resolution which generally covers an entire shift.
WHAT YOU SHOULD LOOK FOR IN A BODY CAMERA
It is recommended to conduct some research before purchasing a body camera for a fleet or for yourself. This is a checklist with points you should consider with answers regarding our own units.
- Does the body camera come with warranty?
OWS: Yes, 1 year.
- What are you wearing? Will you need a harness or vest? Generally, if you are wearing light clothing such as a simple high visibly shirt, all body cameras on the market tend to droop down due to the weight and this limits the field of view being captured.
OWS: We stock vests and harnesses.
- Do you require night vision? How would you like night vision to be enabled? Night vision is somewhat standard with quality body cams on the market with 1-10m of visible face detection. Another option to consider is whether the night vision will be automatically activated once the body cam detects darkness. This promotes a completely hands free solution.
OWS: All our units have up to 10m of visible face detection with auto night vision turned on by default. All our settings can be changed.
- How long is your shift? Make sure that your body cam will support the length of your shift without going flat from no battery.
OWS: All our models support at least 6 hours of battery life, with many extending to over 12 hours. This is all determinant on your settings. If you set your resolution to 480P, you will receive a much longer battery life compared to extreme HD at 1440P.
- Do you need GPS functionality? This records your position on a map.
OWS: We support this on some of our models.
- How much memory do you need? We recommend at least 32GB with 64GB being ideal. This can let you store much more footage.
OWS: We support both 32GB and 64GB.
- How will you retrieve the footage? There are many companies which do this differently. AXON for example, is subscription based and only lets you review footage by paying for their cloud based evidence management software which can get expensive. Other companies have programs and licences which you will need to purchase.
OWS: We try and make the process as simple and affordable as possible. No subscription or licence fees are required (except for our 4G XE22 model) and you retrieve your footage by simply plugging your body cam into your PC and opening the containing folder, just like a USB drive. You can also apply password protection limits so that footage isn't tampered with or viewed by the wrong people.
For an overview of our body camera models, please refer to this article.