Abusive rants at Sheffield traffic wardens caught on body worn-cameras
Abusive rants directed at traffic wardens in Sheffield have been caught on their body-worn cameras.
The footage led to the culprit being convicted for two separate crimes – the first time such evidence had been used to secure a prosecution in the city.
Sheffield Council said the cases showed the cameras were helping bring offenders to justice and helping to ensure its parking enforcement officers could do their job without fear.
Baldeep Singh was first charged with a section 4 public order offence after behaving in a threatening manner on October 1 last year outside Devonshire Chippy, near Devonshire Green in the city centre.
The 34-year-old, of Pickard Crescent, Richmond, appeared at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court in March, when he admitted the offence and was sentenced to 120 hours’ community service and ordered to pay £200 court costs and £100 compensation.
He was back before magistrates on May 22, after a second incident outside the same chip shop on October 31 last year, when the court heard he had used threatening, abusive or insulting words with intent to cause a person to fear that immediate unlawful violence would be used against them.
This time, he again admitted the offence and was ordered to undertake community work and told to pay £170 in costs.
The council's civil enforcement officers began wearing the cameras last year, following an increase in violent incidents against them, which more than doubled between 2011/12 and 2014/15, when 76 such offences were reported.
Councillor Bob Johnson, the council’s cabinet member for planning and development, said: “We introduced these cameras to make people safer doing their jobs in Sheffield and to ensure that our civil enforcement officers aren’t subject to harassment and abuse when they carry out their vital work.
“Thankfully, these are isolated incidents, but rest assured that if the evidence is there, we will use footage to ensure our hard-working teams can do their job without fear.”
The devices, worn on the officers’ jacket pockets, can capture high-quality images and work at night in low light.
However, the council said the cameras are solely for protective purposes and won’t be used to gather evidence to enforce parking fines.