Police body cameras are cameras worn on the body of law enforcement officers and other professionals in uniform. They are highly portable and have the ability to capture all interactions between police and the public or interactions between fellow officers.
Also known as body-worn cameras, or BWC, these small devices are changing the way law enforcement is practised. Whilst they offer multiple benefits for officers, body-worn cameras also protect the public and keep law enforcement accountable. Here is everything you need to know about how police body-worn cameras are used in Australia.
Do police body cameras have sound?
As well as providing video recordings of police activities, body cameras have an audio component. Both audio and video elements have multiple uses in police work, from gathering information and filling out reports to presenting evidence in court cases.
New technology allows police officers to not only record the sound and visuals for future use but connect the device to the internet for live streaming. This improves scene safety for officers and lets them gain instant feedback and backup when working remotely while on duty.
The benefits of body-worn cameras
Police body cameras are taking off around the world, as they afford many benefits for the departments that elect to use them. These same advantages that apply to law enforcement make body cameras appealing to security guards and other private security personnel. In fact, body-worn cameras are also being piloted by emergency medical responders like paramedics in Victoria.
For Victorian emergency medical personnel, the use of body cameras has reduced assaults, a common risk for many working in the field. It gives personnel the power to inform potentially violent perpetrators that they are being recorded which seems to dissipate the potential of a dangerous attack. There can be an initial outlay required in purchasing the new technology, however, municipalities save money in the long run by lowering the number of assault court cases, reducing emergency care costs and decreasing paid medical days off.
Both victims of crime and the officers who respond to them benefit from body-worn cameras as well. If a crime is still in progress when law enforcement arrives on the scene, as is common with domestic violence calls, the perpetrator can be captured in the footage. This reduces conflicting stories in police reports and court trials and helps victims get the justice they deserve.
Court usage of police body cameras is growing as they are a great tool in providing definitive visual and audio evidence that shorten trials. They also support witness testimony and fill in memory gaps, especially in trauma incidents. Physical evidence gathered at the scene of a crime is recorded, too, such as contraband, ballistics, and forensic material.
Many departments are finding law enforcement officers spend less time filling out paperwork when they wear body cameras. They don’t need to rely on notes when completing reports, as the camera records everything, including victim statements and witness testimony. At the scene, officers can focus on the matter at hand without worrying about the distraction of documenting everything, which makes for both greater accuracy and increased safety.
In working with police K-9s, body cameras can become invaluable tools. Not only do these devices record tracking, trailing, and apprehension of suspects, but they also allow dog handlers to review searches where they might have missed an important clue or a change in behaviour on the animal’s part that could be a subtle alert.
Police body cameras protect the public and police departments as well. In cases of officers abusing their positions or not following proper protocol, the camera records everything for later review. Department leadership can use these cameras to wash out poor recruits and promote officers doing well on the job. In cases of officer-involved shootings and other use of firearms, body-worn cameras help determine that the use of deadly force was justified.
Do police wear body cameras throughout Australia?
The employment of body cameras is now widespread with police departments across virtually all of Australia. The Australian Federal Police have been using these cameras routinely for several years. At the initial introduction of police body cameras into the force, police were only required to wear them when firearms or energy weapons were in use. Today, body cameras are used in public settings and on private premises to improve accountability, reporting and the safety of both officers and victims.
In NSW, police body cameras are permitted in public and private places. The Government of New South Wales has created brochures for citizens, outlining the advantages and appropriate use of these cameras.
You’ll find police body cameras throughout Queensland, Western Australia, Victoria, and Tasmania as well. As studies consistently reveal their efficiency and the public reaction to them, body cameras are being incorporated into a number of different public-facing occupations.
Digicom Wireless is a reliable provider of body-worn cameras
If you’d like to equip your department with the latest in police body cameras, Digicom Wireless has a great range of body cameras for a variety of uses. Our friendly staff and technicians have extensive knowledge to assist you in making sure you get the right equipment. We provide detailed information on their maintenance and exactly how to use them.
You’ll also find additional equipment, software and training that complement the police body camera for a seamless rollout across your business or department. These include:
- Referrals for training
- Video management software
- Hardware maintenance, repairs, and upgrades
- Networking capabilities
- Storage options
- Integration with other information technology (IT)
We supply the latest technology at Digicom Wireless, including an array of two-way radios as well as front-line ready body cameras. You’ll find variety, flexibility and advanced features across our entire range, as well as highly competitive prices so that you can upgrade for less. We offer price matching and guaranteed quick turnaround times on all orders. In the rare circumstance that one of our products isn’t working to their optimum capability, we have a repair and service centre for your convenience. Get in contact with us today and transform your organisation for the better.