Parking attendants to pilot CCTV cameras

Car parking attendants in a Lothian hospital are to begin wearing CCTV cameras in a bid to boost safety.
 
Staff working in car parks in St John's Hospital, Livingston, will wear the state-of-the-art gadgets as part of a groundbreaking new trial to prevent violence and aggression.
 
It comes after a rising number of attendants have been subjected to verbal and physical abuse from angry motorists as they try to free-up parking spaces for patients and keep emergency routes clear.
 
One attendant was hit with a walking stick and another had a car driven at them during this recent spate of incidents.
 
It is hoped the little cameras, which are the size of a name badge, will act as a deterrent to drivers who become aggressive and abusive and act as a “silent witness” against those who break the law.
 
George Curley, Director of Operations-Facilities, NHS Lothian, said: “We have a zero-tolerance approach to violence and aggression in the workplace and a duty to protect our workforce.
 
“These car parking attendants are performing a vital function by ensuring that patients can park and receive clinical care they require while directing general visitors to other areas.
 
“This abusive behaviour is completely unacceptable and we will not tolerate it.”
 
NHS Lothian began employing attendants at St John's Hospital to help ensure that patients' car parks were used only by patients and not general visitors.
 
It was designed to help patients attend hospital to receive the care they required and prevent missed appointments. Visitors to the hospital were then directed on to other car parks around the site.
 
However since the move in November, there has been a rapid rise in the number of aggressive and violent incidents in recent weeks.
 
In November, there were only two incidents, but over December and January the total has now reached 14.
 
The attendants will begin wearing the cameras in the main patient car park from next week, in the move which is supported by union leaders, as they direct cars around the site.
 
If the attendant feels threatened in a particular situation, they simply turn on the camera which causes a light to appear and a warning that recording is in progress.
 
Mr Curley said: “Some of these drivers think that because no-one else is around to witness their unacceptable behaviour that they will get away with it. That will no longer be the case.”
 
If successful, the pilot scheme could be rolled out across other hospitals in NHS Lothian.
 
So far, the technology has been successfully used by general parking attendants, litter wardens and police officers.
 
Footage will be stored in secure areas along with other CCTV footage and eventually destroyed.
 
11/02/2014