CCTV bin lorries in-cab view
CCTV cameras on Boston Borough Council's refuse collection lorries are proving their worth in several different ways.
The cameras were installed to reduce the risk of fraudulent claims for damages or injury, fraudulent insurance claims in respect of accidents and incidents, as well as to improve safety, efficiency, performance and customer service.
And a recent review has shown them to be performing well in all areas.
The cameras operate during collection rounds and the footage has been used to disprove claims that damage to parked vehicles and property has been caused by passing bin lorries. One recent claim failed when the video showed that the lorry had passed the damaged car without touching it.
In another incident video footage was used to obtain a conviction in the magistrates' court following an incident during a refuse collection. A resident threatened and swore at the bin men. He pleaded guilty at Lincoln Magistrates' Court at the end of July to possessing an offensive weapon and using threatening, abusive and insulting words and behaviour. He was fined £120 and ordered to pay £40 costs.
The incident followed a refusal to collect waste from a recycling bin which had contained hidden hypodermic needles.
The cameras have also been used when residents have demanded that the lorry calls again because their bin has been missed. In the vast majority of cases the CCTV footage has shown that either the bins were not out by collection time, the wrong bins were left out or the bins were not correctly presented.
Cllr Michael Brookes, Boston Borough Council's portfolio holder for refuse collection and recycling, said: "Some may have felt uneasy when the CCTV systems were installed on the lorries, but they have proved worthwhile and are only used responsibly and lawfully.
"They have proved invaluable in the case of fraudulent claims, which would have cost council tax payers to defend against, and provide savings to all where people just have not presented their bins and have demanded that we call again."
The Government's surveillance cameras commissioner described the council's CCTV processes as "a beacon of good practice for others to follow".
An inspector from the commission, which checks compliance with legislation so far as covert surveillance is concerned, said the council "remained entirely focused on the nature of its responsibilities and the need to ensure that, even if the event is unlikely, if and when the need may arise, its activities will be lawful."
The inspector said the council has achieved a high standard of RIPA (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act) compliance.
Training given to staff was praised as being made relevant.
One of the four cameras (circled) on the bin lorries, giving an all-round view.
The in-cab view - the screen in the foreground confirms property addresses and indicates those who have paid for the garden waste collection service and the number of bins to be emptied (image pixelated to protect personal information), the other screen relays the images captured by the cameras.