Body-worn cameras (BWCs) have become a popular technology for use in police forces around the world; however, little is known about the effects of this technology on policing and on the criminal justice system more generally. In this article, we discuss reported benefits and limitations of body-worn cameras. We examine the current evidence-base for BWCs and the legislative framework in NSW.
Body-worn cameras (BWCs) represent one of the most important advancements in policing over the past century, and they present formidable challenges on several fronts –community engagement, policy development and implementation, equipment selection and purchase costs, equipment maintenance and storage costs, privacy concerns, training, impacts and coordination across the justice system, program assessment, and more.
On June 18, 2019 the Body-Worn Camera (BWC) Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) Team presented a webinar titled “BWC 201: Growing and Sustaining Your BWC Program”. This webinar focused on sustaining and growing BWC programs after the first year of implementation and after receiving approval of the BWC policy development process. During this webinar, panelists discussed succession planning and annual considerations for ensuring a successful BWC program and the inclusion of stakeholders throughout the BWC program.
Executive Summary: Since 2014, many police agencies have adopted body-worn camera (BWC) programs, in many cases with little to no evidence-base to guide implementation and policy development. The research has expanded significantly since then, with well over 70 articles now published on the topic of BWCs (Lum, Stoltz, Koper, & Scherer, 2019). These studies have identified several benefits of the technology, including increased transparency and legitimacy, expedited resolution of complaints, and evidentiary value for arrest and prosecution.
Officer-involved critical incidents often lead to turmoil and chaos for a community. They can leave officers feeling frustrated and even resentful of the perceived lack of support and leave citizens feeling angry and suspicious of their police department. While there is no easy fix for this type of divide, there are steps an agency can take to heal after such an ordeal or to prevent the conflict altogether. The foundation is holding good communication as a core value of your organization. Of course, good communication involves listening as well as messaging.
Author (s) Abstract: In 2016, nearly half (47%) of the 15,328 general-purpose law enforcement agencies in the United States had acquired body-worn cameras (BWCs) (figure 1). By comparison, 69% had dashboard cameras and 38% had personal audio recorders. Findings are based on the 2016 Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics - Body-Worn Camera Supplement (LEMAS-BWCS) from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). The LEMAS-BWCS was administered for the first time in 2016.
This webinar served as an orientation to the FY18 Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) Body-Worn Camera Policy and Implementation Program. The intent of this grant program is to help agencies develop, implement, and manage a BWC program as one tool in a law enforcement agency’s comprehensive problem-solving approach to enhance officer interactions with the public, combat crime, and build community trust.