Scoop the poop in Larne – or be caught on video

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Body-worn video cameras are to be deployed by Larne Council staff to help crack down on littering and dog fouling in the borough.

The local authority hopes the technology – which will allow environmenal wardens to record crimes being committed – will be a valuable weapon in its ongoing battle to keep streets, parks and other parts of the borough clean.

The tough new measures will increase the council’s ability to take action against offenders by allowing wardens to catch them in the act .

And the council also feels the equipment will provide greater protection for its staff, as well as members of the public.

Director of Environmental Services, Phillip Thompson said: “This is becoming standard practice for all councils.

“The camera is only switched on when the officer sees a crime being committed. They can then record any interaction.”

Mr Thompson added: “These cameras will allow wardens to improve the quality of evidence recorded when an incident of litter or fouling is identified.

“And because they provide a first-hand account of an incident, this will lessen challenges to council wardens.

“The cameras will also increase the likelihood that people will accept a fixed penalty, and reduce the amount of time spent by officers following up cases.”

As the devices capture images of individual people – which are regulated by the Data Protection Act – the council has drawn up a procedure and operating rules for the use of the equipment.

This deals with when the devices should be used, access and storage of downloaded recordings, how long recordings should be kept for, and the keeping of records.

Mr Thompson said the council was also considering introducing CCTV cameras at dog fouling and littering hot spots in the borough.