Body-worn cameras (BWCs) are widely promoted as a way of helping combat anti-social behaviour and increasing safety. Within the industry, officers’ benefit from the advanced BWC technology daily and are provided with an accurate record of any given situation through video footage. Cambridge University discovered that police equipped with BWCs receive 93% fewer complaints from the public, whilst the Metropolitan Police found a 33% reduction in complaint allegations.
With so many potential benefits and opportunities that were previously unobtainable before the use of BWCs, it is clear they have become a vital deterrent against reducing anti-social behaviour. Some of these key opportunities include:
Acting as a deterrent against abuse
BWCs could have a civilising effect on those involved. When people know they are being recorded, they are less likely to behave in an unsavoury manner. This could result in a reduced number of violent interactions between officers and members of the public, as those involved know their actions are being recorded and the footage could potentially be used as evidence against them.
However, in cases where anti-social behaviour is captured on camera, officers can prove accountability and transparency of any given situation or grievance. Having footage of an event is almost like having an unbiased witness who will speak the truth on your behalf. As well as the public, it has become a sign of the times that front-line staff can easily become a target of abuse, with some particularly vulnerable. This is why BWCs are becoming so much more common and have been efficient in reducing both verbal and physical attacks.
Which leads us on to our next point…
Supporting assault prosecutions
Not only are these cameras able to help protect officers from becoming victims of assault, they also help in supporting prosecutions. In order to proceed with a prosecution without enough evidence, it can be difficult to make a decision, a decision that should not be taken lightly. Luckily, now that BWCs are in operation, it has become much easier for officers to capture initial evidence that is needed to help with investigations in anti-social behaviour and other criminal activity.
A study conducted by Rialto California found a 59% reduction in use-of-force incidents by officers wearing cameras. Such figures indicate that BWCs are playing a vital role in the ongoing fight against crime.
Able to deploy other forms of body-worn video in areas not covered by CCTV
Whilst not every area is covered by CCTV, BWCs can capture vital footage that may not have been caught otherwise. Once people realise a camera is present, their behaviour is likely to be modified. Not only does this increase the safety of the community but also provides extra support for officers patrolling the area. It goes without saying that public safety is the number one priority and if this piece of advanced technology can give the support needed to help reduce anti-social behaviour, then this is definitely something we should take onboard.
With this in mind, BWCs are a great way to help officer’s crackdown on issues with anti-social behaviour, and make people think twice when it comes to challenging officers who are simply just doing their jobs. Without footage from BWCs, how could we ever ascertain the truth as easily? It is clear that they really are the way forward. As well as helping to reduce violent behaviour, they can help boost public confidence and ensure that the community feel safe in their surroundings. Afterall, the safety of the public is paramount.
To find out more about how we can help you create a safer environment within your community, please contact us at 0845 051 7700.