Benefits and challenges involved in the use of body cams by police forces

16_bodycam_police_utrecht_netherlands (1)The fact that police forces use body cams is an expanding phenomenon. In areas of Latin America, Germany and the United States, many have already adopted this technology and some experts predict that it will be a tool of surveillance which will spread across much of Europe over the coming decade.

The blog Sin miedos (Withoutfear) has shared the video of a lecture given by the ex head of the Spokane (Washington) county police force, Frank Straub, talking about some of the challenges set by this new surveillance system.

The likelihood that agents using such cameras will do their job more responsibly or professionally or that citizens will avoid provocative behaviour or actions which could be used against them in court are some of the advantages.

However, body cams set challenges related to technological aspects because storing and editing hundreds of hours of video is a very laborious task. In the county of Spokane, for example, it was shown that it took roughly three hours to edit one hour of film before publishing it. Moreover the filming of people not involved in a police intervention sparks a debate about personal privacy.

At the beginning, the introduction of this technology involves great investment: In the United States, a body cam costs 500 dollars on average, and the space necessary to safely store thousands of hours of recording must also be considered. All in all, the use of recording devices will have a positive effect when raising the level of trust between the police and the general public and, according to Frank Straub, it will reduce not only the number of criminal charges but also the time spent on investigations.

You can find further information in the entry by Mauricio Bastién on the blog Sin miedos.

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