Body Worn Video Steering Group
A bill that seeks to equip South Carolina cops with body cameras was signed into law in the home town of the North Charleston man who was shot in the back and killed by a policeman as he fled.
Walter Scott became a household name and a rallying cry for proponents of police body cameras after the release of a passers-by cellphone video of his shooting death by North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager, who has since been charged with murder.
Across the USA many police forces have implemented body cameras. However in some areas, such as Boston, they still seem out of sight for the local community. As a result, The Boston Police Camera Action Team has made it their mission to lobby government representatives in an attempt to have body cameras on the streets by 2016.
The current national trend in the United States regarding the call for increased deployment of body cameras by law enforcement personnel is being lauded by many for its anticipated effect on transparency regarding uses of force and providing a true account of what occurs during adversarial encounters between citizens and police.
However, this process creates a unique issue in regards to the healthcare environment and the expectations of privacy and confidentiality that our industry holds so dear.
After a police officer’s behaviour was determined as out of control and inappropriate after a video captured of him by a member of the public went viral in early June 2015 hundreds of people marched through the city of McKinney, Tex., to protest. Brandon Brooks, who filmed the incident and has clocked up 6.4 million views and counting, said the officer “didn’t even look at me. It was kind of like I was invisible.”
Some police experts said Casebolt may not have noticed he was being recorded. The question that remains is ‘how are police officers prepared for citizen filming?’
Roughly 220 people gathered at The Orleans on June 9th -11th for the first-ever Law Enforcement Camera-Based Systems Symposium.
The three-day conference drew people from law enforcement agencies from as far away as Toronto, and they all had one thing on their minds: police body cameras. The technology has become a hot topic in the wake of multiple, high-profile controversies involving the use of force by police.
In 2013 West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Bob Jones said he supported trials for the introduction of body worn video cameras for the police, so as to build evidence for their effectiveness.
At the time Mr. Jones said, “…We are taking a staged approach, which helps us understand the operational, legal and technical issues arising from their use.”
After it was discovered initial funds for the initiative to help police forces buy body cameras was reduced to just 1 third of the initial ask, an amendment has been added to the the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill which will see an additional $10 million top-up, bring the total to $25 million.
“Everybody’s memory is faulty,” says Angus Lee, a Vancouver based lawyer. “Nobody has a perfect memory, no one has a memory that can compare to a body camera”. This is why he is campaigning for a minimum of 246,372 signatures from registered voters to bring the initiative to require body-worn video cameras on cops to the ballot.
MK (Member of the Knesset, Israel’s legislative branch of government) Avraham Negusie (of the Likud–National Liberal Movement, the major center-right political party) has proposed a bill, nicknamed the ‘Damas Pakada’ bill after the Ethiopian soldier who was beaten by two police officers last month, that would require police engaged in arrests to wear video cameras.
Recently the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) update the CCTV Code of Practice, stating “We have moved away from CCTV simply being a camera on top of a pole in our local town centre where the images were recorded on to video tapes, to much more sophisticated operations using digital and increasingly portable technology.”