When it comes to body worn cameras for police, many people think they’re a great way to encourage and enforce better practices in the police force in addition to increasing accountability. A recent Pew Research Center survey revealed that 66% of officers and 93% of the public favor the use of body cameras by officers to record interactions with citizens. However, many officers have serious reservations about the use of police body cams. Here are some pros and cons of body worn cameras for police.
PRO: Footage can be used as evidence
This is probably one of the biggest benefits of body cameras for law enforcement — the ability to use the footage later on in a court of law if necessary. Without this footage, your case may be severely lacking, depending on what the case is about. But the fact is, footage from both police body cameras and police dash cameras can be incredibly useful in a court of law.
CON: Restricted privacy
There’s no secret that police body cameras can limit the privacy of both law enforcement and civilians. These cameras are usually on and running for nearly the full duration of an officer’s shift, and they will most likely capture short snippets of random bystanders. Additionally, all footage is owned by the state, so footage of any arrests made can damage the reputation of defendants. So, in large, police body cams can inhibit privacy, but it’s a small price to pay if it means better protocol enforcement by police.
PRO: Violence prevention
A study conducted in 2013 by the University of Cambridge discovered that both police and respondents become less likely to use violence when police wear body cameras, citing a drop in force rate by a whopping 50%. This serves as very strong evidence that more cameras ultimately mean less violence.
CON: Video quality
Another concern some people have about police body cams is the actual quality of the footage. While it isn’t possible for it to be perfect due to officers’ movements, lighting, and other factors, it’s likely that there could be blurs or lags in the footage, which can make it hard to properly interpret. However, this is quickly being remedied, as camera technology is consistently evolving.
Ultimately, body worn cameras for police are a great way to make the streets safer for everyone. For more information on police body cams, contact 10-8 Video.