A new independent study by London Metropolitan University shows significant support for body camera technology, with the research revealing that City of London police officers feel safer and more confident in their job.
A relatively new step, the first body worn camera was used in policing in 2005. As the BBC reported, this technology can actively reduce complaints against officers. This is confirmed by Chief Superintendent David Lawes of City of London Police, who believes the cameras could prevent the escalation of possibly turbulent situations. This study saw officers embracing the technology, with 83 per cent wanting the cameras introduced and 93.2 per cent believing they will help with gathering evidence.
Dr James Morgan, the study’s lead author, believes the interviews with police before and after trialling the technology showed that officers hope the recordings can help to counter negative perceptions of the force. The rise of smartphones can lead to analysis of officers’ actions by members of the public, including on social media. These cameras could help to respond to damaging portrayals of the police and perhaps open up new forms of dialogue within the community.
A body worn camera from a manufacturer such as https://www.pinnacleresponse.com/ can produce a recording that will confirm an officer’s version of events, whilst holding them to account. It seems that the police are positive about these devices, in part because of the opportunity for more rigorous accountability.
Keeping officers safe
There is still some work to be done to ensure the evidence obtained will be compatible with the Crown Prosecution Service’s requirements; however, Dr Dan Silverstone, the study’s second author, believes video evidence from these cameras could increase positive results from prosecutions and reduce the time taken to achieve these. Being able to see and hear an incident can also enable the emotion of the situation to be felt.
Offenders faced with video evidence may be more likely to enter a guilty plea, and there could be a reduction in the time officers spend assembling evidence. It is hoped these cameras could even help to reduce the number of assaults on police officers. Those interviewed believe a camera being present could calm aggressive situations.
This research certainly shows a willingness by the police to embrace new technology, with the cameras potentially improving officer safety and aiding prosecutions.