Environmental Agency introduces body cameras

29th September 2017


The Environment Agency (EA) has launched a six-month trial in the North East to equip officers with body-worn cameras.

The first trial of its kind within the organisation aims to improve the safety of its enforcement officers, who are often exposed to anti-social behaviour, threats and assaults when inspecting poorly performing sites, illegal and regulated waste sites and during incident response. The scheme comes after an EA employee, ex-police officer Paul Whitehill, was threatened on an illegal waste site during a routine visit. He said that the police force works on a daily basis with body cameras, which are proven to be effective and have prevented threatening situations from escalating.

EA waste enforcement officers encounter aggressive behaviour on a regular basis. Since 2001, they have successfully prosecuted 59 cases of obstruction, hostility or threatening behaviour, 22 of which were in the North East.

Rachael Caldwell from EA’s Waste and Enforcement Department said: “The safety of our staff is paramount. They are well trained in dealing with hostile situations, and we take any threat against them very seriously. But our preference is to prevent hostility in the first place.”

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