Wearable police cameras has been considered for two years now, but Victoria Police say that the costs associated with such technological developments are still unclear
Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton has made a commitment that Victoria Police will use the modern technology, but is unable to provide an estimated time frame despite a trial being conducted.
The Police Association is aware of Victoria Police proposing body-worn camera technology, and are not opposed to the idea that promotes the safety and security of its members.
“We understand that Victoria Police have trialled this concept in a very limited capacity,” Bruce McKenzie, Assistant Secretary for the Police Association told The Newsroom.
“We have not seen the evaluation of that trial information. The concept is used in a range of forms around the world,” he said.
International law enforcement agencies currently using this technology caution the need to underpin body-worn cameras with suitable IT infrastructure. Present IT systems available to police are antiquated and struggle to support current work practices.
Any introduction of new technology would need to be supported by an upgrade to existing IT arrangements, the Police Association said.
“There are many benefits that come from use of camera technology,” Mr McKenzie said. “Our members already record many aspects of their work to assists with investigations. Use of car mounted camera technology and the video recording of interviews has, for example, assisted countless prosecutions and supported members doing what is an increasingly difficult job. With proper controls and supporting IT infrastructure, body worn cameras may also be of value to police.”
Mr Ashton expressed his commitment to adopt personal video cameras in a TV interview last Sunday, and said that they were as inevitable as the force’s use of drones as crime fighting weapons.
Members of the public are also in agreement with the proposal to have cameras mounted to the officer’s bodies – believing that it will help clarify crime cases.
“It depends on whether or not it will help,” Ashley Marie, a 21-year-old Melbourne resident, told The Newsroom. “People say oh the cops did this, the cops did that, so if they have proof that they didn’t do what the person said, it will put them in their place.”
Victoria Police have refused to release details of the body-worn cameras trials evaluation and there is no word yet on when the estimated costs will be revealed. – Sarah Batt
Top photo taken by James Davis.