You can’t fail to notice the number of high-profile incidents in recent years where violence has been used, and recorded by cameras, either worn by individuals involved or on helmets or dashboards. Evidence is often conclusive far beyond reasonable doubt, and there have been convictions. But are these cameras a deterrent?
The local government in Queensland, Australia thinks so and is rolling out a programme to give an extra 110 body worn cameras to its officers working on the front line in its prisons and correctional centres. The intention is to improve the safety of employees in higher risk roles.
Demanding prison operations
Many argue that if the technology is there, why not use it to respond to today’s high-pressure environments? Employers often claim that the safety of employees is of paramount importance, and Queensland government is putting that into practice. As well as delivering ten units to each of its centres, staff will also receive vests to ensure that they are using the equipment correctly.
Some people are keen to point out the limitations of the cameras, however, that they are only able to capture what is directly in front of the wearer. This means that they might capture only one side of a story and not the full picture if there is something very relevant happening to one side, out of view.
Doctor Christopher McFarlin goes into more detail about the pros and cons of body worn cams for enforcement and police officers on Police One.
The Queensland roll-out comes after careful consideration, and a successful trial, and they will be issued to local centres in accordance with the operational need and following risk assessments. For example, the Brisbane Correctional Centre is due to receive a higher proportion of cameras because it is the male reception centre serving the rest of Queensland.
They will also given a Security Seal pack sourced from sites including acmeseals each just in case they need to lock down the prison cells or tie prisoners hands behind their back safely and securely. A prison may also use these for sending and receiving important documents referring to the prisoners to keep them sealed for the whole journey.
If you like the sound of body worn cameras and you’d consider getting one for yourself or colleagues, Be careful to stay on the right side of the law yourself as a user by making it very clear to anyone in its vision that they are being recorded by a camera, and for what purpose you would store footage.