New public housing officers to have body cameras

Picture: NT Government.
Picture: NT Government.

Katherine’s new team of public housing safety officers will be equipped with body-worn cameras.

The three new officers are expected to be unveiled next week.

The cameras are now standard equipment for the housing officers, as of this week.

The officers will work with public housing tenants, neighbours and visitors to respond to and reduce anti-social behaviour. 

Katherine has previously been covered by officers visiting from Darwin.

The town will be welcoming a lot of new police over the next month with the latest batch of NT Police recruits expected to arrive next month.

As well, 22 of the new grog cops are expect to begin their duties at Katherine liquor outlets from early next year.

The establishment of three permanent PHSO’s in Katherine will now support community safety and policing activities on a full-time basis, Katherine MLA Sandra Nelson announced in April.

The camera have been trialed in Alice Springs and Darwin.

The body-worn cameras, similar to the devices introduced to the NT Police Force two years ago, will allow interactions between PSHOs, public housing tenants and members of the public to be recorded.

Recordings from the devices will be used to provide accurate records in the event of disputes, improving accountability and transparency.

Strict conditions of use include advising members of the public they are being filmed. Cameras will be used by PHSOs when on patrol and responding to call-outs.

Housing and Development Gerry McCarthy Minister said: “Every Territorian has the right to feel safe and expect their homes, businesses and property to be secure.

“This technology provides an extra layer of security for our Public Housing Safety Officers who are sometimes at the frontline of difficult and confronting situations.

“Evidence and experience with body-worn cameras have shown that people moderate their behaviour when being filmed and therefore the likelihood of escalated confrontations is reduced.”

Mary Pritchard is in her 70s and has lived in public housing at Albrecht Drive, Alice Springs, for about six years.

“The safety officers have made us feel safe and I want them to be safe too,” Mrs Pritchard said.

“Every night they come and check the area and make sure there are no strangers around so they have made a big difference in helping us to feel safe and sleep well.

“The cameras will capture any arguments or bad behaviour and that would make the safety officers feel more secure about being on patrol.

“We have to look after the ones who look after us, it’s as simple as that.”