Traffic wardens are now to be fitted with body cameras to ‘reduce the risk of attacks’.
The cameras, for Gravesham council staff, will start being used on Monday, July 25.
The council said it reports any incidents to Kent Police and the video captured from Monday onwards should provide them with clear evidence to help take action against offenders. It is also hopes the cameras will help to settle disputes over issuing fines.
According to the council, over the past 12 months there has been an increase in aggressive incidents. But those figures have not been made public.
The action follows an alleged incident where a civil enforcement officer was allegedly assaulted outside a school and suffered head injuries causing him to be off work for several weeks. According to the council, police were unable to prosecute due to lack of evidence.
Police were unable to provide details of the attack.
"There is an easy way for motorists to avoid a penalty notice – just park legally. There is never an excuse to assault or abuse public servants who are doing their jobs" - Council leader Cllr John Cubitt
Council leader Cllr John Cubitt (Con) said: “The safety of our officers is paramount and we will not tolerate any level of abuse or physical attack. There is an easy way for motorists to avoid a penalty notice – just park legally. There is never an excuse to assault or abuse public servants who are doing their jobs.
“Our officers are trained in conflict management and they know how to defuse a situation. However, it can be very difficult to reason with some people and I hope these cameras will make those individuals think twice before they do something they might regret.
“These officers do an important job, helping to keep our roads safe and enabling people to find somewhere to park in busy areas.”
“I hope these cameras make a difference to the behaviour of the small minority of motorists who try to intimidate, threaten and in some cases, attack our officers”
The cameras are not a new concept, they are already worn by contractors working for Kingdom who issue fines for littering and dog-fouling.
The cameras will remain off most of the day but will be switched on when a fine is issued and if there is any dispute.
The uniform will carry a clear warning that the camera may be used.
This week chief executive of the council, David Hughes, wrote to the Messenger about the reported attack and the issues the wardens face; after a single mum said she's petrified of parents on the school run who park on double yellow lines outside her home and block her in, as well as give her torrents of abuse.
A comment in the Messenger asked where all the traffic wardens were in these situations.
Mr Hughes replied: “On the one hand you want fewer parking officers and on the other you want them to be everywhere and have even more powers than the law currently allows. Which is it?”
For the full letter see today's Gravesend Messenger.