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How Body Worn Cameras Can Enhance Public Safety
Author: Richie McBride
Copyright: 9-1-1 Magazine, Feature Content
Richie McBride, Managing Director at Edesix, looks at how advancements in body worn camera technology, can help solve security and management challenges for those in public facing roles.
Body worn cameras (BWCs) can provide two-fold protection to staff, or those in direct contact with the community, such as police officers – firstly, members of the public naturally change and moderate their behaviur for the better when they realize they are being recorded, – but importantly these cameras can then be used to record evidential quality footage which can secure convictions, or uphold the account of staff or police in the event of a complaint or incident.
Studies examining the use of BWCs show they make a real difference in protecting frontline staff and the public. Not only do BWC’s deter aggression and in many cases eliminate the need to activate a panic alarm or radio during an incident, but they also help staff feel valued, safe and protected.
Advancements in technology
Recent advancements in Body Worn Camera technology have facilitated larger deployments, more cost-effective BWC estate management and increased security features. It is now the standard for BWCs to be protected by encryption and produce complete audit trails in order to preserve the evidential quality of recordings. Back end software suites are often web-based and allow authorised users to securely manage BWCs, videos and other settings from any device or location connected to the internet.
Many BWCs now also support Wi-Fi functionalities including live streaming video, Wi-Fi uploads and static CCTV integration; these developments mean that authorised users are able to see incidents unfolding live and send appropriate support if necessary.
Furthermore, network connected docking stations are able to link a system of BWCs at separate sites to a central location, thereby avoiding the costly installation of servers and other storage options at individual sites.
In essence, BWC systems are now easier to manage, deploy and use than ever before. Edesix, a leading BWC supplier, has seen interest from markets and companies which had previously been unable to use BWCs in the past due to issues with footage management and system administration.
Factors of Successful deployments
Policy: It is important to define clearly when and where it is acceptable or required to record. For many industry sectors, general policy guidelines have been established, and normally the user is required to make others aware that they are recording, either verbally or via an indication on the BWC.
As a rule of thumb, people can be recorded using a BWC wherever they might reasonably be expected to be recorded by CCTV – most public spaces, for example.
Privacy: It is important to have strict controls and audit features in place to protect confidential footage and meet data protection regulations. These features also help to reassure the public, and staff, that footage is carefully controlled; only named individuals should have access to footage, and only for the explicit purposes as defined by policy.
People: Most public-facing staff will welcome BWCs, provided the cameras cannot record when they are not authorized to do so. With any deployment, it is important that the staff, and future users of the BWCs, support their use. The cameras can prove to be invaluable for fighting false claims and deterring abusive behavior. There are often very few training requirements for BWCs due to their ease of use and simple recording activation mechanisms.
Richie McBride is the Managing Director at Edesix, a market leader in the provision of body worn cameras, and currently works with a number of police forces in the UK and across the globe. For more information, see: www.edesix.com