In Australia, body cameras, Australia or police body cameras are the ways an officer can record their interactions with the public. The small body cameras worn on the head or chest of a law enforcement officer captures internal audio and video during crime scenes or public interactions.
Requiring police officers to wear body cameras, Australia is fast becoming a requirement in the many states of Australia. It is because the evidence gathered by the small camera allows the demonstration of transparency, behaviours, and statements to be accurately recorded.
States that require body cameras to be worn by police officers at all public situations and interactions are seen as a means to deter illegal and inappropriate behaviours from both the public and the officers.
The advantages of requiring police officers to use body cameras while on duty include:
Strong public support and an effective tool for reforming police
Accountability and transparency are the top advantages given to the public by police officers wearing body cameras. The relationship between the public and the police is often frayed. Using a body camera during public interactions is an attempt of mending the frayed relationship between the community and law enforcement officers.
The data gathered from the cameras are also used as an effective training tool for existing and new officers on ways to diffuse tough situations with the public.
Lower complaints of police misconduct with enhanced police accountability
The audio and visual evidence recorded by body cameras has seen a trend of lower public complaints about police misconduct. The camera has proven its worth in terms of enhancing police accountability in their interactions with the public.
Police brutality has dropped dramatically with the cameras recording entire shifts. Fabrication of evidence such as planting fake drug evidence by police officers has also stopped since the implementation of body cameras.
False accusations against the police have also decreased with the protection provided by the body camera. The exoneration of several officers from procedure, service, and conduct allegations has seen an increase with the help of body cameras.
An effective tool in cases involving domestic violence
Police officers responding to a scene of domestic violence receive a lot of help from a body camera. The body camera becomes an effective and timely tool to record the statements and the injuries of the victim.
Recording the events after the immediate aftermath presents a more honest statement from the victim than later statements with the financial and emotional ties coming into play.
The events being recounted by the victim as soon as police officers arrive on the scene is more likely to be the truth than a later statement after 30 minutes after it happened. Implications setting in often make victims of domestic violence either recant or add more embellishments to the truth.
Negotiations between victim and suspect in domestic violence cases are resolved effectively with the evidence provided by a body camera. The documentation provided by the body camera of the first moments has proved critical to domestic violence cases.
Perhaps the top reason for many states in Australia in requiring police officers to wear body cameras is its high price tag. The cameras are often seen as an added expense on top of ancillary equipment it needs such as training, car charger, etc. However, the range of personal body cameras offer an increased level of user safety to be used during entire shifts of various police officers make it a worthy investment.