Police Federation of Australia - Body Worn Video “Common Sense” Tool
The Police Federation of Australia (PFA), led by Mark Carroll, which represents 58,000 Australian police officers, has positioned that body worn video cameras are a “common sense” tool.
Carroll wants the State Government to provide police with urgent funding to equip all frontline officers with the cameras.
“The technology allows police to take compelling footage at incident scenes and has the potential to improve evidence provided to the courts,” he said.
“It will help to streamline the court process, which is good for police, defendants and the wider community.”
The State Government says it will consider the results of police trials of the body-worn video cameras before funding the technology.
The renewed calls come after a police officer was acquitted of assaulting millionaire businessman Yasser Shahin during a September 2010 traffic stop.
Constable Norman Hoy, 59, was found not guilty of aggravated assault by a District Court jury.
During the trial, jurors heard audio of Hoy’s altercation with Mr Shahin, which Mr Carroll said was vital in the case.
Body-worn video cameras have been trialled by police in worldwide, and will be worn by 1000 frontline officers in New South Wales when they are rolled out in July at a cost of $4 million.
The NSW Government hopes cameras, which weigh less than 200g and have six hours’ battery life, will lead to a better conviction rate and reduce complaints against police and injuries to officers. Last year, New South Wales Police began using Reveal cameras, which police minister Stuart Ayres said “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 Carroll said the time had come to make body-worn video cameras available to all frontline officers in SA.
“Body-worn video is used extensively by police abroad and its use in South Australia is a common sense addition to the police kit,” he said.
Police Minister Tony Piccolo said the Government would consider the results of any trials.
“SAPOL has undertaken trials and continues the project to find the right device and storage capability to meet legislative and state records requirements,” he said.
Carroll is an example of union support for a police officer facing adversity and body worn video,
“A District Court jury has found a hardworking, long-serving, hero police officer innocent of any wrongdoing,” he said. “He assaulted no one, he disrespected no one and he failed no one.”
He said the State Government should fund body-worn video equipment for all police officers to ensure such incidents did not happen again.
“It’s disturbing to think that, had Norman not (recorded the incident), we might well be talking about a different outcome today,” he said.