Yes body cameras can help everyone!
Constantly evolving technology is changing the way we live, and this extends to how society is policed. One example of how technology is changing things for the better is the increasing use of body cameras by police forces around the world.
The benefits of body cameras in the 21st Century
In New York, recent analysis of alleged police misconduct incidents by the Civilian Complaint Review Board suggests that footage from body worn cameras greatly helps in the resolution of this type of case. Without video, 45% of allegation cases were closed in 2016, compared to a closure rate of 57% when video was available. When dealing with police misconduct over the last 5 years, there was a 18.6% rate of substantiating the claims with footage, twice the rate when no such independent verification was available.
The case of Jordan Edwards, a 15 year old boy who was shot by a police officer in Texas, is a good example. Body camera footage from that day contradicted the officer’s claims and resulted in a murder charge.
Awareness of footage being captured may also be enough to act as a deterrent when it comes to criminal behaviour and complaints against officers. A study by Cambridge University, indicated a drop of 93% over the course of a year in complaints made by the public, compared to the previous 12 months.
Race car drivers
Body worn cameras help drivers see the footage after to see if they can improve on their time and where on the track they struggled the most. They can also show footage of other drivers if any crashes occur. Also if there does happen to be a photo finish the body cam may help.
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Concerns and the need for further development
Various body worn cameras are available for police and security services, these are being increasingly rolled out in the US and UK, and it’s clear that there are many positives to video capture.
There are, however, some concerns over the way in which camera data is handled, and the risks involved over data use, potential leaks and sharing. There’s also the issue of privacy and human rights, and fears that certain groups may be targeted more frequently than others, due to prejudice and discrimination on the part of police officers. At present, many forces, such as the NYPD, do not have strict protocols regarding the appropriate activation of body cameras. Whilst putting in place measures to address these concerns may take some time, it’s clear that body cameras have many benefits to offer both the police officers wearing them, and those being filmed.