In February 2017, London’s Met Police intervened in time to prevent a sexual assault and caught the perpetrator, and their subsequent attempt to escape arrest, on video, all thanks to a body worn camera.
This makes a great news piece due to the dramatic video clip, but are there actually benefits to every officer being issued with a body worn camera, especially since this is extending past the police to private security and council workers?
Benefits of worn cameras for everyone involved
Few people question the case for body worn cameras being issued to police officers, especially when it comes to issues of race or when armed police are involved, both in the UK and overseas. Apart from major and potentially life-ending incidents, issuing body cameras to police officers has reduced the number of complaints against police by more than 90 per cent in some places. Everyone involved, police and otherwise, knows that they are being recorded and acts more reasonably.
What about council employees? Should someone enforcing littering bylaws or issuing parking tickets be recording everything around them? Of course they should. Council officers, along with private security officers, are involved in confrontational situations. At the most basic level, body cameras from manufacturers such as https://www.pinnacleresponse.com/ would contribute to their safety, and who would blame a social worker for wanting to record a situation when 85 per cent of social care workers were victims of threats or actual violence and 70 per cent of these incidents were never investigated?
Apart from safety, a body worn camera records what the officer involved is reacting to, giving the full context of a situation in an unalterable medium. Instead of situations being one person’s word against another, evidence is caught on film in a way that puts the officer above reproach.
Isn’t it all a bit too Orwellian?
Open any newspaper and you can probably find an article about the ever-expanding surveillance state, but does a body worn camera actually contribute to this idea?
At the end of the day, these people would be out doing the same job with or without a camera. The presence of a body camera just contributes to the safety of everyone involved in a confrontational situation; in fact, it probably gives more protection to the public than to the officer wearing the camera.