Body-worn cameras: evidence-base and implications

Source: 

Current Issues in Criminal Justice (2019)

Authors: 

Callum Christodoulou, Heen Paterson, Richard Kemp

Body-worn cameras (BWCs) have become a popular technology for use in police forces around the world; however, little is known about the effects of this technology on policing and on the criminal justice system more generally. In this article, we discuss reported benefits and limitations of body-worn cameras. We examine the current evidence-base for BWCs and the legislative framework in NSW. We then raise four key issues that we believe require further empirical attention: (1) bias involved in viewing BWC recordings; (2) the effect of BWCs on officer memory and credibility; (3) the effect of BWCs on officer well-being; and (4) specific considerations involved when officers review their own recordings. By raising such issues, we hope to provoke discussion and further research about the implementation of BWCs. Appropriate guidelines and legislation must aim to maximise the effectiveness of the technology as well as balance ethical and cultural demands.

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