10 Pros and Cons of Police Body Cameras

Pros and Cons of Police Body Cameras

Many police departments started using body-worn cameras several years ago, in the late 1990s. At that time cameras were heavy and bulky and are not easy to carry around.

Pros of Police Body Cameras

1. Improves Police Accountability

Police body cameras provide visual and audio evidence that can independently verify events. One small device can create a strong piece of evidence that showcases the interactions between the officer and the public, holding everyone accountable for their actions.

2. Real-time Information

While the human eye can’t pick every detail but these cameras can help paint a much clearer picture of what happened in an incident.

3. Improves Officers Behaviors

Normally, people tend to behave better when they know they’re being watched. According to a study, the interactions between the public and law enforcement officials typically become more civilized after the use of police body cameras.

4. Major Evidence

Aside from documenting encounters with the public, body camera technology also helps officers record what they see at accident and crime scenes. Footage captured by police body cameras can also be used as evidence in various cases when necessary.

5. Training Tool for Law Enforcement Agencies

Nothing is better than real-life footage from your jurisdiction when it comes to on-the-job training. Police officers need time to train and improve just like any other personnel.

Cons of Police Body Cameras

1. Pretty Expensive

Equipping police officers with body cameras could be extremely expensive. There are lots of other expenses that come with it, such as software upgrades, hardware upgrades, and maintenance.

2. Privacy Issue

Recording police encounters with the public could lead to the public exposure of private matters. It’s a matter of public privacy. The camera will pick up the activities of everyone in the scene. Sometimes police officers are interacting with the individual at an inappropriate time.

3. Not Always Helps in the Investigation

Some people don’t feel comfortable around cameras and it is a psychological fact that not everyone is comfortable around everything. During an investigation, the understanding that an interview is recording could stop some people from interacting with the officer.

4. Safety of Officers

People who may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol may respond differently/harshly to being filmed by a police officer. According to a study, assaults on police officers were increased by 14% when they wore body cameras. There are also possible health and safety issues associated with the use of body cameras electric shock, or burns from faulty devices.

5. Storage is a Problem

Traditionally, the evidence is collected and stored physically in a secure location/shelf with a label/tag. The primary issue with police body cameras is how to store all the data safely.

Conclusion

Generally, the public is in favor of the idea of using police body cameras as it ensures more accountability to the public as well as to the officers. The use of police body cameras delivers some remarkable benefits for law enforcement agencies however, there are some drawbacks such as privacy and its upfront cost.

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