Body Worn Video Steering Group
New South Wales (NSW) state government has encouraged the police to equip themselves with body worn cameras after a successful trial of the technology.
Scott Weber, the Police Association president, said that it was a “natural progression” after the state government allowed video footage to be used as evidence in domestic violence incidents. Weber believes that body cameras will eventually be worn by all frontline officers.
The cameras are being trialled by front-line officers in the Public Order and Riot Squad, parts of the Police Transport Command, the South-West Metro Regional Enforcement Squad and the Brisbane Waters Local Area Command.
“The officers think it’s fantastic,” Weber said. “What it does is change the behaviour of offenders and it’s a very valuable tool for gaining evidence.”
“We’d like all front-line officers to have the cameras so they can detect offences and put evidence before a court to highlight the nature of the incident.
“We see some horrific things and sometimes it’s not enough to explain the emotion, the sheer violence and the magnitude of some offences we see unless there is footage and pictures and sound.”
Police Minister Stuart Ayres is also committed to seeing the body worn video program expanded.
“It has a series of positive benefits for police when it comes to changing behaviour, collecting evidence and training,” he said.
Crime prevention campaigner, Ken Marslew, affirms that the adoption of body-mounted cameras for all front-line officers would be an “all-round positive” for victims, police officers and the community.
“It would certainly give victims the support they need and often don’t get,” adds Mr Marslew, founder of Enough is Enough.
Stephen Blanks, president of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, supported the roll-out of cameras, saying it will keep police accountable too.
“The cameras more than pay for themselves, with police officers spending more time on the road and less time in court”.