Environment Protection Authority bulletin – Installation of cameras in work vehicles
In May 2015, the PSA was notified Hunter Region EPA was going to install dashboard cameras in EPA work vehicles.
The Office of Environment and Heritage informed the PSA the reasoning was twofold:
- Health and safety of staff
- The ability to record evidence of breaches of legislation to assist with prosecutions.
The PSA requested a copy of the policies and procedures for the use of the cameras.
OEH responded the EPA had not developed these documents, but required them to do so prior to use of the cameras by staff.
In September, OEH contacted the PSA stating the EPA was installing the cameras the following week.
The PSA was also provided the procedures for the use of the cameras. Further, the OEH reported the policy had not been developed. The PSA requested a communique be sent to EPA staff stating they did not need to use the cameras until the relevant policy was developed and consultation had taken place.
It is the understanding of the PSA that a communique was issued, but that it stated EPA staff were not required to use the cameras if they did not wish to.
Without a policy and procedure there are no real protections against allegations of misuse such as:
- Storage of evidence
- Breaches of privacy.
It is the strong recommendation of the PSA that staff at EPA do not use the dashboard cameras until the policies and procedures are developed, consulted and agreed to by the PSA and delegates.