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US police officers test out body worn cameras before city-wide rollout

Police officers in the US town of Raleigh, North Carolina, have been testing wearable surveillance technology as part of a new initiative to address issues with missing information following incidents. The local authority believes that it is now one step closer to equipping all its officers with body cameras as standard.

US police officers test out body worn cameras before city-wide rollout

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The requirement

Police officers deal with challenging situations on a daily basis. In an increasingly litigious world, it is more important than ever that they are protected from undue legal reprisals. Consistent video evidence of incidents may be captured by body cameras, provide a degree of protection and assisting in the prosecution and conviction of criminals.

The technology

Wearable surveillance technology has advanced a great deal over the last few years. Cameras can now be discreetly worn without hindering the operator in any way. The cameras that may be utilised by law enforcement officers are small, robust and capable of shooting continuous high-quality audio-visuals in less than ideal conditions.

Specialist retailers, such as http://www.pinnacleresponse.com/body-cameras-and-the-law/ supply dedicated software for use with security agencies that ensures any recorded footage complies with the need for encryption and storage.

Body cameras and UK law

Whilst it is not law, The Surveillance Camera Code of Practice (SCCP) is a body that provides guidance for the use of surveillance technology. The SCCP does not have specific instructions for body cameras, but it does state that those collecting such data should adhere to its general surveillance guidelines. Information that is collected about individuals is covered by the Data Protection Act, but law enforcement officers in particular may be subject to further regulations.

The SCCP states that there must be “strong justification” for the continued recording of a particular individual and that individual should be alerted to the fact that they are under this kind of surveillance.

These guidelines aim to ensure best practice is adhered to, but they do not prevent the usage of body cameras for law enforcement.

Despite initially high operating costs, it is believed that the testing conducted in Raleigh paves the way for other police departments across the state to embrace this technology. The US isn’t the only country to conduct trials; body cameras could well become commonplace for UK police in the near future.

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