Body Worn Video Steering Group
Body cameras are currently being trialled by New South Wales (NSW) police, Australia, who are looking to roll out thousands of body cameras across the force.
The move from NSW demonstrates the belief that police forces around the world have in the technology, and how it is becoming a standard tool in 21st century policing. The Police Minister Stuart Ayres said that the body cameras used on the front line will provide a greater transparency about incidents involving the public, whilst also providing high quality evidence to be used in court.
“The video devices make a significant contribution to fighting crime, it also allows police officers to record actions that they’ve been involved in,” Mr Ayres said.
“We found that video on police makes a big difference to the behaviour of people interacting with police so it’s a very positive step forward.”
In addition, the Police Minister highlighted how the body cameras will be able to help the police from an educational stand point, by providing footage to review in training.
“The more we have the body-worn video, it’ll allow us to evaluate critical incidents as well, so police officers will know there’ll be a record of that,” he said.
“It’s important for their own training and own feedback, but it’s also important to know that people who are interacting with police have the potential to be videoed as well.”
The Police Assistant Commissioner for NSW, Alan Clarke, was also enthusiastic about the benefits of body worn video. He emphasised how footage taken from cameras would benefit the police when giving evidence in court. Another important benefit mentioned was the deterring nature of the body cameras, since offenders will be aware their actions are being filmed.
“Something which seems quite insignificant at the time can escalate in a matter of seconds.” Mr Clarke said. “This is when the camera is most beneficial to officers,”
“A picture is worth a thousand words and with these devices if you play up, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to watch your video replay in court.”
“The devices also had a positive impact on behaviour. We found once someone was aware they were being recorded, their behaviour changed — in some cases, it helped defuse aggressive situations.”