Implementing body-worn cameras in a police agency has an impact on virtually every key aspect of police operations, including training, investigations, community relations, resource allocation, and more. With the growing adoption of body-worn cameras, the need for effective law enforcement training is paramount to help ensure that officers have the necessary knowledge and tools to confront the difficult tasks they encounter on a daily basis. The following considerations and resources will serve as helpful information in support of this challenge.
This article provides a commentary of Northamptonshire Police’s 10 year body-worn video (BWV) journey from a small pilot in 2006 to a highly developed position whereby BWV is culturally accepted and embedded across the force (with the exception of firearms officers). The availability of digital evidence is increasing and is growing in significance, and this brings with it a number of challenges.
Police body-worn cameras (BWCs) are an increasingly prominent research area in criminal justice. This trend mirrors current practice, with more and more law enforcement agencies implementing or procuring BWCs. Yet the evidence on BWCs is substantially long on evidence but rather short on theory. Why should BWCs ‘work’ and under what conditions or on whom? This article offers a more robust theoretical composition for the causal mechanisms that can explain the efficacy of BWCs.
In summer 2015, my department received a complaint from a citizen that she had been sexually assaulted by one of my officers while the officer cited her for larceny. The complainant would not come to police headquarters, but instead provided her account by phone. The Internal Affairs Commander began an investigation and, two hours later, I learned that the officer was one of three in our department who was field-testing and evaluating a body-worn camera (BWC), and that the entire incident had been captured on a BWC.