TRAFFIC wardens across Test Valley are to be armed with body-worn cameras in a bid to stop assaults by angry motorists.

The news follows a rise in the number of violent incidents against officers over the past few years.

Traffic wardens in other towns and cities across the county, such as Southampton, have already been equipped with recording devices.

Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) has now decided to follow in their footsteps, saying that evidence from nearby authorities have reported more positive interactions with members of the public.

According to TVBC, incidents to traffic wardens across the borough included verbal and physical intimidation, threats of violence, inciting hate against officers via social media and physical assaults.

The authority said 11 violent incidents against traffic wardens were reported in 2017, an increase from five in 2015 and 2016.

The authority also said seven incidents were reported in 2018 and zero in 2019 to date.

According to the council, from August 2017 to February 2018, wardens also logged 62 incidents of antisocial behaviour directed towards them in addition to those reported as a violent incident.

The council said traffic wardens will be equipped with body-worn video cameras from next month.

Cllr Nick Adams-King, deputy council leader, said: “The decision to introduce cameras has not been taken lightly, and I’m very pleased that we are now introducing them.

“Unfortunately, over the past few years, we have noted an increase in the number of incidents of both verbal and physical aggression towards our CEOs. The introduction of cameras will help keep our staff safe, which for us is a top priority. It is also important that we ensure our parking civil enforcement officers respond appropriately in difficult situations.”

As previously reported, in May last year the council announced it was considering plans to equip wardens with recording devices.

The authority said the idea was also supported by residents who took part in a public consultation.