25 Jun 2015

Prison staff to wear body cameras

9:58 am on 25 June 2015

Department of Corrections staff are to be equipped with on-body cameras with the aim of improving their safety.

The cameras will be worn attached to lightweight, stab-resistant vests.

They will be introduced at high-risk facilities by the end of the year, and progressively rolled out throughout the country.

Department of Corrections principal custodial adviser Leigh Marsh said trials of the cameras in two prisons last year showed they reduced disruptive incidents by 15 to 20 percent.

"We also found anecdotal evidence the officers felt safer and more confident going about their duties, and the prisoners fed back that the unit generally felt calmer and a lot safer," Mr Marsh said.

Corrections staff turned the cameras on when incidents occurred, and had to let prisoners know they were being filmed.

Prisoners usually calmed down and stepped away when they knew they were being filmed, he said.