Case study: safer traffic wardens with ZEPCAM
In the last couple of years, traffic wardens in the city of Jyväskylä (Finland) were seeing a growing number of threatening incidents while carrying out their duties. Which challenges did traffic wardens face and what was the solution?
The Parking Control in the City of Jyväskylä includes nine traffic wardens and is a part of Traffic and Green Areas. It belongs to the Urban Planning and City Infrastructure. With a population of 143.000, the City of Jyväskylä is the seventh largest city in Finland.
Safety being an important part of the value proposition of the Parking Control in Jyväskylä, the increasing occurence of aggressive incidents was unacceptable. There was a need to improve the work safety of the local law enforcement and to reduce disruptive behaviour towards them.
In April 2020, city wardens and officers responsible for the street works permits as well as building sites were provided with bodycams. The use of bodycams is an excellent addition to the Parking Control’s existing security measures. The idea is to ensure that traffic wardens can de-escalate or eliminate tension and guarantee an extra bit of security. The solution had to meet several challenging requirements:
- Data safety was of the utmost importance.
- The data had to go through the existing data network. This means that there were restrictions concerning data availability and the danger of overflowing the network and the potentially negative effect of other systems on it had to be carefully monitored.
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The Parking Control in the City of Jyväskylä chose the ZEPCAM T2+ solution. This is an endlessly scalable solution, consisting of hardware and software components. Users and bodycams can be added as you go without any limitations. The cameras are comfortable to wear and the Parking Control has found that they are easy to use. The excellent audio and image quality of ZEPCAM bodycams are also deemed to be very satisfactory. The docking stations are an important part of the solution. These enable not only the fast downloading of data, but they also regulate the amount of data that passes through the data network, ensuring that it can handle all of the information without affecting other systems negatively.
The integrated approach of device and software allows for fast and easy video management and complies with all data safety standards. ZEPCAM also offers excellent customer support every step of the way, from setup, to training, to deployment.
The bodycams have considerably reduced the number of violent incidents including verbal and physical intimidation against officers.
Service Supervisor at the Parking Control in the City of Jyväskylä.
Evaluations show that employees are positive about the use of bodycams. The Parking Control of the city of Jyväskylä had already received positive feedback on ZEPCAM bodycams from other cities where the cameras had been introduced and this is also applicable to them. The traffic wardens feel that bodycams are absolutely necessary and that they significantly improve their safety at work. The bodycams have had a positive impact on situations where traffic wardens encounter difficult and sometimes even aggressive customers. The majority of the threatening incidents have disappeared and often the person in question calms down when they notice that the traffic warden is wearing a bodycam or that it is recording.
The fact that bodycams have considerably reduced the number of violent incidents (including verbal and physical intimidation against officers) is backed up by the figures. There has been a 20% reduction in incidents in a period of one year since the introduction of bodycams in April 2020. After the introduction of bodycams, there have been only four reported threatening incidents and in three of them, the person causing it could not see the camera, due to factors such as darkness. The positive attitude of the traffic wardens towards bodycams has only increased due to the fact that, in the case of a possibly threatening incident, the video footage can be beneficial when conducting a criminal investigations. These positive results have led to the Parking Control’s decision to allow traffic wardens to continue using bodycams.
The Parking Control in Jyväskylä is constantly learning to assess when and how to use a bodycam. Apart from de-escalating and reducing the number of violent incidents when traffic wardens show up with a bodycam, the introduction has also had a psychological effect on people. One of the traffic wardens in Jyväskylä had an encounter with a person where she noticed him suddenly calming down and staring intently at her chest, where the camera is normally attached to. She then realised that she had forgotten to attach the bodycam (there was only a magnetic fastener attached to her chest). Nevertheless, the person involved had already calmed down. This proves that the mere knowledge that bodycams are being used in the area is sometimes enough to calm people down. In turn, this highlights the importance of informing citizens on upcoming bodycam use. The Parking Control is happy to continue using ZEPCAM bodycams in the future.
Since 2009, ZEPCAM has been on a mission to make society safer. Today, more than 500 customers in more than 40 countries use ZEPCAM professional bodycam solutions to protect and support their frontline professionals when it really matters, and to improve the working conditions and efficiency of various frontline industries. Comprising bodycams, a video management system and hosting solutions, ZEPCAM provides frontline professionals and their managers with the tools to do their work safely and gather evidence that will stand up in court.