Impacts of BWCs on Use of Force: Directory of Outcomes
BWC TTA (2021)
The research base on the impact of police body-worn cameras (BWCs) has grown rapidly, and, over time, the results have become increasingly mixed. This development poses two problems:
- It is difficult to keep track of the quickly growing evidence base.
- It is difficult to make sense of the sometimes-competing findings across studies.
Moreover, studies can vary widely in terms of their methodological rigor. We have developed the Body-Worn Camera Outcome Directories to address these two problems. The directories provide a comprehensive, up-to-date overview of the existing research by outcome (e.g., use of force, citizen complaints, officer activity, officer perceptions). More detailed instructions for interpreting the directories are included in each document.
The directory of studies examining officer perceptions of BWCs is available below. If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Michael White (email@example.com), Dr. Janne Gaub (firstname.lastname@example.org), or the BWC Training and Technical Assistance team (email@example.com).
Summary of the Use of Force BWC Outcome Directory (8/10/21)
The Use of Force Directory provides information on 28 published studies or reports that examine the impact of BWCs on the prevalence of use of force. Four studies have been added to this updated directory. Two notable findings emerge:
- Eighteen of the 28 studies are randomized controlled trials (RCTs), systematic reviews, or meta-analyses, displayed as Level 5 on the Maryland Scientific Methods Scale (MSMS). This finding highlights the robust methodological rigor of the rapidly growing body of research on BWCs.
- Fourteen of the 28 studies report substantial or statistically significant reductions in use of force, following deployment of BWCs.
Taken together, the current body of research suggests that police BWCs can lead to reductions in use of force by police.