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World View: Body Worn Video

Early January 2015 follows on from events that took place in mid-to-late 2014 in the world of body worn video cameras. After much research, trials and debate, the body camera movement has seen action in the police, security, and government bodies.

London, UK:

The Metropolitan Police introduced body worn video in August 2014, specifically for its armed response units. At least 600 cameras have been issued to officers so far and around 20 cases involving body cameras are currently awaiting court. Superintendent Adrian Hutchinson, who heads up the scheme said

“People can take issue with actions of officers but so far the body-worn video has shown they have carried out their job correctly.”

Most recently, it became public knowledge that body worn video will be rolled out to 200 armed police officers across London; including some from dog, and mounted branches.

Vancouver, Canada:

Whilst many agencies in North America and Canada explore the potential of body worn video, Vancouver Police Department’s media spokesperson Sergeant Randy Fincham said “Throughout our shift we deal with a number of sensitive issues and calls that we do attend. That would have to be seriously looked at as well as the officers have some personal time throughout their shift and those things wouldn’t necessarily be documented on camera.” Although Vancouver PD have mulled over using body cameras, for the time being will not be engaging with the technology due to storage concerns. Storage solutions and support does exist, such as DEMS created by Reveal.

Tampa City, USA:

Tampa City Council have just authorised an $84,000 investment for Tampa Police Department to acquire 60 body worn video cameras as part of a yearlong trial. Chief Jane Castor has made her intentions known with a view to supply all 750 officers much sooner, seeking to report back to the council after 6 months to update officials on progress.

Northern Territory, Australia:

Northern Territory police, Australia, have begun a three-month trial of Reveal RS2-X2 body-worn cameras recording high-definition video and audio. Officers have unrestricted powers to record wherever they go in the course of their duties, including public spaces as well as private places such as homes and offices.

Police say the Reveal body cameras will help improve police transparency, reduce paperwork, and supply useful evidence to the courts. Reveal body cameras are already in widespread use in 30 countries around the world. However, in November, New South Wales parliament passed a bill giving frontline police the power to use body-worn video cameras following widespread trials.