The technology of body cameras has diffused rapidly across different states and on a global level. Research suggests that personal body cameras may offer benefits for law enforcement. However, more research is needed to fully understand the value of this technology in the world. You might wonder what benefits personal body cameras provide to people and this article clarifies that for you.
Potential Benefits of Personal Body Cameras
- Increased Civility
Body worn cameras have a high probability of increasing citizen compliance to officer commands. When citizens are aware that the encounters they have with officers are being recorded, they are more likely to change their behavior. In turn, this prevents certain situations from escalating when they get heated.
- Better Transparency
Personal body cameras may result in better transparency and accountability thus, they may improve law enforcement legitimacy. The events of todays’ world have caused many people to lose trust and confidence in law enforcement. The mistrust and lack of confidence is increased by the constant questions that are raised between the community and the officer. During some confrontations between officers and the community, deadly lethal weapons may be used, therefore, body worn cameras allow the documentation of these events to provide better evidence and accountability.
- Easier resolution of conflicts and confrontations
Personal body cameras may result in easier resolution of citizens’ complaints. In cases where citizens file lawsuits based on forceful treatment by police officers, body worn cameras aid the investigation of such cases. In cases where there is no video footage nor witnesses, such cases end up not being sustained. Moreover, in cases where the citizen is correct about the harassment, video footage from the body worn cameras can help to corroborate the facts of the encounter, helping to provide quicker solutions for the cases.
- Provision of Corroborating Evidence on Factual events
Personal body cameras provide footage that may also be used as evidence during prosecutions and arrests. Crimes happen everywhere and on a daily basis and for this reason, body worn cameras help to document events as they happen in real time. They help to document the nature and consequence of different types of crime and save the time taken for investigation of these crimes. Officers and investigators reduce the time they use to complete paperwork on such cases.
- Provision of Training Opportunities
You might wonder what kind of training opportunities are offered by wearing a body cam and how exactly the training is useful. Well, the use of body worn cameras offers potential opportunities for advancing policing through training. The activities recorded by body worn cameras are used by law enforcement trainers and executives to assess officer activities during training. The use of these body worn cameras to train officers help to advance policing through training and also advance professionalism among new recruits and officers. Moreover, body worn cameras and video footages of real time events offer law enforcement and officers and executives opportunities to implement new strategies and assess how officers can implement new ways of carrying out their duties
Overall, the increasing use of personal body cameras by law enforcement agencies has had a significant impact on the relationship between law enforcement and technology. Besides, they have a plethora of benefits and opportunities. However, more research has to be done on the limitations and impacts of body worn cameras. While an increasing number of studies and research has filled the knowledge gaps on body worn cameras, more effort has to be put on researching the importance of these cameras and the overall benefits they provide citizens.