Body worn cameras are used nationwide
From March 2022, fishery officers and honorary fishery officers nationwide started wearing body cameras. Officers must complete training to use the cameras. A camera pilot was held in a few regions during the summer of 2021-22. Following the pilot, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) decided to roll out the cameras across the country.
Why we use body worn cameras
We introduced the cameras because fishery officers are sometimes abused or threatened. The number of incidents is putting officers at an increasing risk of physical assault. It can also affect their mental health.
The aim of body worn cameras is to reduce the number and severity of incidents involving aggressive and threatening behaviour and obstruction. It will also improve the health and safety of our frontline staff and the public.
When and where body worn cameras will be used
Fishery officers can turn on their cameras when a person they're dealing with is becoming:
- obstructive (either verbally or physically)
- violent or aggressive.
Officers can also turn on their cameras if:
- they feel threatened
- someone's actions are posing a risk to the officer's health and safety.
The cameras can be used for all inspection activities on land and at sea. This includes, for example:
- when exercising a warrant during an operation
- during the seizure of vehicles, vessels, or fishing equipment as part of an inspection.
When cameras won't be used
Body worn cameras are not used as a substitute for standard investigation and compliance procedures. For routine activities, the devices remain in a stand-by mode. In stand-by, the cameras record but no video or audio is retained. No recordings are retained until an officer activates the camera.
Use of recorded footage
Where video or audio has been collected and retained, it may be used:
- to help resolve complaints
- for enforcement and prosecution
- for other lawful secondary purposes, if it contains materially relevant evidence.
Body worn cameras and your privacy
MPI acknowledges there will be some situations where the use of body worn cameras may raise privacy concerns.
We completed a privacy impact assessment (PIA) for the programme. It identified the safeguards required to manage risks from using and retaining video and audio.
Recorded material is classed as official information. It can be accessed on request, orally or in writing. We review requests according to the Official Information Act 1982 and the Privacy Act 2020.
Media release about the camera pilot
Who to contact
If you have questions about the use of body worn cameras, email firstname.lastname@example.org