School is first in Worthing to fund body camera for crossing patrol

Patrol officer David Holland with pupils Abbie Wise, Ciara Watts and Arthur Jameson
Patrol officer David Holland with pupils Abbie Wise, Ciara Watts and Arthur Jameson

A junior school has become the first in Worthing to equip its school crossing patrol with a body camera in a drive to stop dangerous driving and abusive behaviour.

Thomas A Becket Junior School in Glebeside Avenue, Worthing, is one of only six schools in West Sussex to take part in the county council’s pioneering scheme.

David Holland, who has enjoyed getting to know the school’s ‘exceptionally good kids’ during his 10 years as the school’s crossing patrol officer, tried out his body camera for the first time on Monday and said he thought it was a ‘brilliant’ idea.

The 75-year-old cited drivers not paying attention and using their phones as problems at the ‘busy crossing’, but said the biggest issue was traffic backing up by the gates during wet weather.

The cameras are worn across the chest to record audio and video footage, which will capture any incidents of bad language, abusive behaviour, people not wearing seatbelts, talking on their mobiles or speeding.

The camera records every shift, but the memory card will be wiped if nothing of note occurs. If footage of an offence is captured, it is passed to police to consider as evidence for prosecution.

Head teacher John Gadd said the school had decided the fund the camera, which costs between £100 and £150, rather than wait for county council funding ‘so that we could get it done quickly’.

He said: “It makes it even safer for the children and the crossing patrol officer.”

Louise Bishop, school crossing patrol manager at the county council, described the body camera as ‘a very valuable tool’ and ‘one of the most cost-effective ways a school can improve safety’.

“It certainly seems to have changed the behaviour of drivers,” she said.

“It’s absolutely amazing that it’s taken off as well as it has.”

Schools that would like to find out more should send an email to louise.bishop@westsussex.gov.uk