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Body Worn Video Steering Group

Body Worn Video Cameras to be Compulsory?

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After the Grand Jury decision to not indict Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson earlier this year relatives and protesters alike have banded together and submitted a petition to the White House calling for a “Michael Brown Law”, which would require all state, county and local officers to use body worn video cameras as part of their regular tool-kit for policing.

Yatim Protest

Father Mike Brown Sr. said ‘This system is so unfair to the citizens’. ‘We ask that everybody join us in demanding change and making a difference for the lives of our children.’

Similarly in the UK “Leon’s Law” stemmed from the death of Leon Briggs who died whilst in police custody on November 4th 2013. As with the Michael Brown Law, Leon’s Law would require all officers to wear a body camera, and record all public interactions.

Slowly, but surely, many police forces across the globe are trialling, implementing or currently using body cameras as a new approach to tackling crime. Results from various studies and polls conducted by institutions such as the College of Policing and PoliceOne.com have shown the effectiveness of reducing complaints made against police and also justifying use-of-force where video evidence is available.

Furthermore the official response to the Michael Brown Law petition states that the Department for Justice’s support for body worn video will continue, as will the discussion surrounding ‘how the technology impacts policing, communities and public safety.’

Body worn video has become one of the most popularly supported devices by both public and police alike, with a current shift towards using video as a tool for greater public safety. Forward facing screens as designed by Reveal deter poor behaviour and using body worn video has shown the public gaining a greater trust of police.

Already more than 50% of UK police forces have had some interaction with the use of body worn video, with Hampshire Constabulary being praised by Home Secretary Theresa May for an innovative approach to reducing crime.

Many have spoken about the use of body worn video and how the public values the new technology as a form of policing, here are just two opinions:

“I think what’s really pushed this forward in a lot of ways is the general public’s use of cell phones and use of cameras,” says Andrea Russi, director of criminal justice for the Warren Institute on Law & Social Policy and a lecturer at UC Berkeley’s law school. “So there’s a value to police departments also having similar technology.”

“Good or bad, ugly or different, this is going to be a tool, and it’s a permanent eyewitness,” says Officer Dave Burke of the Oakland police department. “Our video cannot be altered in any shape or fashion. What you get once it’s recorded is the raw form.”

View the Leon’s Law proposal here

View the Michael Brown Law petition here

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