Car park
Cars are seen parked at the National Mall in Washington, U.S., November 15, 2016. Reuters/Carlos Barria

The Hobart City Council has consulted with the Australian Workers Union and the Australian Services Union concerning rolling out body cameras for parking inspectors. Hobart general manager Nick Heath said the news comes after a trial of the technology was undertaken last year.

Body cameras started being trialled to avoid “routine” cases of verbal abuse and threats made against council employees. Six Hobart parking officers used the body cameras for a period of eight weeks during the trial.

While officers who wore the body cameras did not encounter any cases of abuse, those who did not use the technology faced verbal and physical abuse. “Whilst the majority of people are friendly and respectful to our parking officers, we want people to think before they ill-treat our staff who are simply performing their job,” Hobart Lord Mayor Sue Hickey said. “The whole idea of the cameras is to increase the safety of our officers, by making people pause and prevent them from losing their temper and becoming aggressive.”

The body cameras will enable officers and inspectors to snap conversations and images when they face an aggressive or hostile confrontation. As part of the move, around 370 new parking meters will also be set up that will accept cash and credit and debit card payments.

Parking in CBD will also be subject to electronic surveillance, as noted by the ABC. In lieu of this, as many as 2,000 sensors will be installed across the city to identify over-stayers. Once the sensors detect the people who have over-stayed, they will relay the information to the parking inspector.

"It's entered the convenience stage," Alderman Damon Thomas said. "So many people have complained to us that they just don't carry dollar coins in ready supply and they don't understand why we don't have credit and debit card facilities ... it's just an antiquated system."

Additionally, the new system will also incorporate a provision to allow people to create a parking account using their smartphones. The account will function the same way as road toll interstate accounts do. The overall cost of the move is expected to be as much as $40,000.

Civil Liberties Australia Tasmanian director Richard Griggs has called for the council to release the guidelines of the move. “We want to see how the images are stored, for how long and which of the relevant staff can see and or use them,” Griggs said.