Traffic wardens in Co Donegal have been fitted with personal CCTV cameras for their own personal safety.
The cameras have been introduced in a bid to stop any confrontations between wardens and members of the public while also gathering CCTV footage of any possible such confrontations.
John McLaughlin, Director of Roads & Transportation with Donegal County Council, said the technology is used in some European countries.
However this is the first time the technology has been introduced in Ireland.
The overall aim of the personal CCTV camera is to provide for the personal safety of traffic wardens while they are doing their job.
The ‘on-body’ cameras can be activated by the traffic warden if they feel they are in danger.
It is envisaged the CCTV footage could be used in any possible court cases involving traffic wardens and members of the public.
Mr McLaughlin explained “These devices will not be operating on a continuous basis, however, if a traffic warden finds him or herself in a situation that could result in some form of confrontation they can advise the other person or persons that they are turning on the device to record proceedings.
“Traffic wardens have been trained in using these devices and there are strict rules in place prohibiting the filming of children or minors.
“Most traffic wardens are working on their own and this device is about ensuring their personal safety while doing their job. We hope that it will not be needed too often but it is there as a safety precaution.”
He added that research has shown the new CCTV cameras will help reduce and future confrontations between traffic wardens and members of the public.
“Our research has shown that when the personal CCTV cameras are in place they are in fact a deterrent and have proved very effective in de-escalating potential conflict situations,” added Mr McLaughlin.
Traffic wardens currently operate in six towns throughout the county including Letterkenny, Buncrana, Ballybofey, Ballyshannon, Donegal Town and Bundoran.
He added that traffic wardens are playing a vital role in rural towns.
“They provide a very valuable service in each of these towns ensuring effective traffic management and this includes the pay and display car parking facilities, the freeing up of car parking spaces in town centres to facilitate traders and ensuring that road markings such as double yellow lines are complied with. These road traffic laws have been introduced for very good reasons and traffic wardens fulfil a very important duty in making sure these laws are enforced.
‘Traffic wardens also assist schools in these areas during busy times of the day and are also on hand to give advice and directions to visitors and locals alike.”
Traffic wardens are also responsible for issuing parking tickets and on the spot fines for parking violations, however John McLaughlin is keen to point out that the Council does not incentivise the issuing of tickets stating “the key performance indicator for Traffic Wardens is the number of vehicles logged on their patrols, not the number of parking tickets or fines issued”.
Donegal County Council recently established a new centralised Parking section which is based in Letterkenny Public Service Centre.
The role of this new Parking section is to provide an impartial and consistent approach to enforcement across the entire county.
John McLaughlin notes that this dedicated section will be looking at introducing new initiatives that will make the service more efficient and user-friendly.
The council are currently looking at introducing a ‘Text to Pay’ service and other online options that will make the service more convenient and accessible to the public.Tags: