Council takes safety step as abuse rises

Via Wikimedia Commons under CC BY-SA 4.0

Closed circuit TV cameras and monitors, duress pendants and buttons, strobes, lockdown devices and sirens are set to be installed at Waipā District Council facilities to combat aggressive behaviour.

Some equipment has already been put in the libraries and customer support areas in Cambridge and Te Awamutu after staff reported an increase in abuse.

In their five-monthly report to the council’s Finance and Corporate committee, health and safety advisor Bev Taylor and human resources manager Stephanie Shores said one of the actions for council to consider, following a SafePlus assessment three years ago was to install duress alarms to provide safe areas in libraries.

This project was scoped from a broader perspective to incorporate the Kihikihi and Cambridge pounds, libraries, other customer support areas and Te Awamutu Museum.

“All of the roles within these areas/departments have significant interactions with the general public and have experienced aggressive behaviours from customers,” the report said.

Earlier this year, the council’s Health and Safety team reported an increase in aggressive behaviour and alerted Council executive.

The executive gave the go-ahead for the team to focus its energy and resources on supplementing staff training with technology to act as a potential deterrent and so staff could protect themselves and those around them.

Security equipment has been partially installed at the dog pounds and work should be complete this month so staff can test the equipment and get training.

Security equipment will also be installed in Te Awamutu Museum next month and will involve a two-day closure of the facility.

Staff logged 66 major and moderate events to the council from last November to March.

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