London Metropolitan Police wore body cameras during Extinction Rebellion protests this year.
Conference delegates have voted in favour of the Police Association investigating the suitability of frontline staff being equipped with body and/or car cameras and to report the findings to next year’s conference.
The Waikato Committee raised the issue in response to Police halting its own review into body cameras in May, citing the need to divert resources to other areas.
In a submission to the conference, the committee said it was concerned that a potentially effective, additional safety tool was no longer being considered by Police.
“With the amount of information, both for and against cameras, this subject needs good research to see if cameras would be suitable for our members in response roles. If they are considered to be appropriate, the association should engage with Police, sharing its findings and promoting a camera rollout as soon as possible.”
The committee added that body and/or car cameras would fit with three parts of Police’s “Our Business” ethos: being valued; being equipped and enabled; being safe and feeling safe.
It pointed out that “cameras are now used everywhere”. Corrections staff, parking wardens and animal control and security staff use cameras, as do police for family violence interviews, and they are installed in most police stations and custody areas.
“The current thinking seems to be that the totally overt manner in which body cameras are worn – including a ‘selfie’ screen so the subject knows he or she is being filmed – seems to enhance safety. They have been proven to reduce assaults on police and to limit use of force on the public.”
In the February issue of Police News, we investigate the appalling state of too many of our stations and custody units, look at how Police reintegrates staff after critical events, speak with officers who were first on the scene of a fiery crash in Hamilton last year, and hear what life is like after Police from association member Sean Hatwell.