DVSA staff issued with bodycams to beat aggression

body cam

A significant rise in the number of assaults on enforcement staff has prompted the DVSA to issue body worn cameras to frontline staff.

The bodycams are small devices slightly larger than a credit card which are usually worn on the chest, and record video and audio.

The DVSA said the cameras are being rolled out to all areas in the coming months following a training programme for staff on how to use the devices.

The cameras will be worn during roadside checks and may also be worn for operator and MOT garage site visits.

The move brings it in line with other enforcement bodies such as the police who have been using bodycams for a number of years in their frontline work.

The DVSA said there were 35 assault incidents on enforcement staff in 2019/20, which is a 25% increase on the previous year.

Marian Kitson, DVSA director of enforcement, said: “DVSA’s priority is to protect everyone from unsafe drivers and vehicles.

“Whilst the majority of drivers are courteous to our roadside enforcement staff, they need to be able to protect the public without fear of violence.

“We take a zero-tolerance approach to physical and verbal assaults and the bodycams will act as a deterrent.

“They will also enable us to manage, support and respond to any assaults that takes place.”

Last year, traffic commissioner Nick Denton disqualified Croydon operator Jacek Pawalczyk for two years after a public inquiry heard how his aggressive manner had left a DVSA vehicle examiner “scared for his life” (CM 17 April 2019).

Licence cut after ninth regulatory intervention

O-licence

An operator who was given “so many chances” to improve its compliance has now had its licence authorisation more than halved.

South East deputy traffic commissioner John Baker said most members of the public and other operators would think it “extraordinary” that there had been nine regulatory interventions since Elliott Environmental was granted its licence in 2005.

In October 2019, one of the Dartford firm’s vehicles was checked and found to have a loose wheel nut and an under inflated tyre and so it was issued with an ‘S’ marked prohibition.

A follow-up maintenance investigation by the DVSA was then conducted and the outcome was found to be unsatisfactory.

Two further prohibitions were discovered; one of the company’s vehicles had no PMI records; there appeared to be no effective disciplinary system in place and there were incomplete driver defect reporting records.

At an Eastbourne PI, Elliott Environmental sole director Stuart Hendrick explained that the missing PMI sheets related to a vehicle that had been sold and they had now been forwarded.

He said that his fleet all worked on building and waste disposal sites where the terrain was mainly hardcore or rubble and his drivers were not permitted to inspect their vehicles before going back on to the highway.

Hendrick added that it was a “never ending task” to remind drivers of the need to check their trucks and a lot of his problems came down to complacency on their part.

The DTC said the lack of effective drivers’ walk round checks was resulting in the high number of faults showing up at the maintenance inspections:

“All the negative factors have to be put in the context of this being the ninth regulatory intervention since the licence was granted,” he said.

“I believe to most members of the public and other operators it would appear extraordinary that so many chances for improvement have already been given.

“So many chances have been given and sufficient improvement has not been made.”

DTC Baker found that the operator’s repute had been severely tarnished and he cut the licence authorisation from five vehicles to two.

Acknowledging that Hendrick was also the holder of a sole trader licence, the DTC made a direction that he could not transfer the curtailed vehicles to that licence for six months.