Body Worn Video Steering Group
A police officer in Queensland, Australia, recently filmed his interaction with a knifeman which ended with the subject’s fatal shooting out of self-defence. The recording was taken with the police officer’s own body camera.
This is the kind of story that highlights the benefits that body worn video can bring, according to officials. Now investigators can use these recordings from the police officer’s own camera to assist in determining what really happened during Queensland’s latest fatal shooting. The filming helps by showing the circumstances that the police officers were in prior to and during an event, providing more proof than that of a written statement.
This latest incident involved a police officer filming as he and his partner shot a man, 51, after he ran at them with an unspecified weapon.
Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers says the officer used his own camera, which he bought himself – something about 75 per cent of general duties officers do. Mr Leavers also said this incident showed the importance of police officers to be issued with body-worn cameras, which he referred to as “the modern day officer’s notebook”.
“It gives the police protection… against vexatious complaints and it also gives the public confidence in the actions of police,” Mr Leavers told reporters on Monday. “They should be a standard issue as far as I’m concerned.”
The police officers – a first year constable and a 10-year veteran senior constable – reacted instinctively to protect their own lives, it was a said, after arriving at the crime scene following reports of a domestic disturbance. Mr Leavers defended the officers and the actions they took.
These officers were trained to fire directly at the centre of the target in order to neutralise the threat. “When people say we should shoot for the left finger or the right foot, that’s in the movies,” Mr Leavers said.
With more police forces using body worn cameras, evidence used in courts can be much more compelling and accurate. However there is a need to de-escalate incidents as well as capture them. Body worn cameras do this by showing their awareness to the perpetrator who is likely to cause less trouble if they see that they are being filmed.