New on-body cameras for Corrections officers

  • Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga

On-body cameras for frontline Corrections staff are being rolled out at the same time as new lightweight stab-resistant body armour, Corrections Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has announced.

The body armour is designed to have the camera mounted on it.

The introduction of 1000 on-body cameras across all prisons, beginning in Arohata Prison near Wellington, follows successful trials in two prisons last year. Results suggest the cameras reduced disruptive incidents by 15-20 per cent compared with the year before.

The cameras are switched on by Corrections officers when potentially disruptive incidents develop. The prisoners are advised that they are being filmed.

The cameras’ use has shown that potentially violent situations can be de-escalated once prisoners are aware they are being filmed.

“Their use, along with the new lightweight stab-resistant body armour, means our staff and prisoners are safer,” Mr Lotu-Iiga says.

Officers are encouraged to role model acceptable behaviour to prisoners, listen to their concerns, help them solve problems and provide positive direction.

“This positive interaction between prisoners and staff results in potential problems being identified and resolved quickly, which reduces the number of incidents in prison.”

It is planned that all high-risk sites will be equipped with the on-body cameras by the end of the year.

Mr Lotu-Iiga announced last month that 3500 stab-resistant vests would be rolled out to frontline custodial staff.

The new body armour is lighter, less bulky and more comfortable than Corrections’ current stab-resistant body armour.

This investment builds on other initiatives already in place to improve the safety of Corrections staff, including the availability of batons in some circumstances, pepper spray and spit hoods. Staff are also trained in de-escalation techniques.

Link to on-body camera footage taken in prison: