POST OFFICE: BODY WORN CAMERAS – SUPPLY CHAIN
I wish to advise Branches and members working in Supply Chain that following a successful trial of 6 Body Worn Cameras (BWCs) in our Manchester Supply Chain Depot, and subsequently in Chester, Birmingham and Hemel, we concluded a National Agreement for the roll-out of a further 112 of these devices for use in Depots/Areas that are deemed to be high risk.
The roll-out of body worn cameras will take place on a phased basis, with the aim of starting this month. Crucially our members will be fully trained on the use of the BWCs prior to the roll-out which will cover 10 depots, based on the considered risk in the areas in which they operate. At this stage that will be Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Chester, Glasgow, Hemel, Manchester, London, Newcastle and Sheffield. The deployment will remain under review and we will jointly consider making body worn cameras available within other depots should the level of risk change. Members will be supplied with lightweight vests as part of their uniform to enable the fastening and wearing of the cameras.
Attached to this LTB is a Joint Statement published today and also the National Agreement which has been unanimously endorsed by the Postal Executive. The Agreement makes it clear the purpose and joint aims of introducing this initiative is “to improve crewmember safety and reduce the risk of criminal robberies.”
In broad terms, BWCs will provide our crewmembers with protection, particularly in the event of suspicious activity whilst assisting in the prevention and detection of crime and to act as a visual deterrent to criminals.
Our members have full control of the BWCs and are able to determine when to use the record function, which will primarily be during the higher risk transfer points (cross-pavement). Essentially our members, at any point where they may feel under threat or vulnerable, can activate the record function, including where suspicious circumstances are suspected.
Crucially, the Agreement confirms that BWCs:
• “will not be used as an employee surveillance system”
• “Individuals have a right to privacy at work”
• “Access to the data on the camera shall be restricted to the purposes of uploading to Grapevine and images on the camera will not be viewed in the depot”.
The above extracts from the National Agreement provide our members with the necessary assurances and safeguards.
We have agreed that a Joint Review will take place 6 months after the deployment of the 112 devices (BWCs) have been in use. This is necessary as it is important to get feedback on the effectiveness of this equipment and in particular how our members feel about wearing them and having to activate them. I am though confident this initiative is of overall benefit to our members, particularly with the safeguards outlined above.
We also intend to carefully monitor the situation to determine whether the BWCs should be extended further beyond the 112 devices the Agreement allows for. In this regard, we will clearly seek the views of our Unit Reps to inform any representations made.
Finally, I would like to thank our two Supply Chain Representatives, Dave Bowmaker and Rob Jones, who have provided their support and assistance during this process and in the drawing up of the National Agreement.
Further developments will be reported.