Rangers to trial body worn video cameras - Dartmoor National Park Authority

Dartmoor Rangers will trial the use of body worn video cameras in a bid to deter anti-social behaviour.

Recommendations to introduce their use were unanimously approved by Dartmoor National Park Authority at its meeting today (4 February).

Rangers will be issued with the devices in March and will trial them for 24 months with a review after 18 months to evaluate their effectiveness.

The primary aim of their use is to further protect their health, safety and welfare by reducing the risk of incidents of verbal and physical abuse towards them but, if necessary and appropriate to do so, could provide evidence to support legal action.

The body worn video cameras will provide transparent and clear accounts of interactions between Rangers and members of the public. The camera, worn attached to Rangers’ uniform, will be clearly identifiable and will capture moving images and audio. Alongside the Authority’s existing health and safety policies it will give them an extra layer of protection when they are at work.

Their use is incident-specific. Rangers will turn the devices on in situations where they believe they may be subject to physical or verbal abuse or where someone is perceived as being threatening/aggressive towards them. They will always clearly announce they are turning on the device so people know they’re being filmed.

Dartmoor National Park has benefited from a passionate and enthusiastic Ranger service since 1963, when Tony Owen-Evans was first appointed Dartmoor Head Warden. Today’s 11-strong team are the ‘eyes and ears’ of the Authority and work hard 365 days of the year to protect and care for Dartmoor and help people learn more about its special qualities.

Ranger Team Manager Simon Lee said: “Being a National Park Ranger means the working day is mostly spent out and about doing your best for the people who live, visit and work Dartmoor. In most situations, people respond to us in a really positive way and appreciate what we’re doing. We’re grateful for the support of many, but in recent years we’ve experienced an increase in anti-social behaviour when we’re just trying to do our job. Fortunately these incidents are rare but even one is unacceptable. No one should have to deal with abuse or threats simply for doing their job. The use of body worn cameras gives us more confidence that we can deter any acts of aggression and protect ourselves as we go about our duties.”

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Posted On: 04/02/2022

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