A randomized controlled trial of the impact of body-worn camera activation on the outcomes of individual incidents
Body-worn cameras can’t replace an officer’s perceptions, but they can be extraordinarily valuable when they confirm the presence of weapons, capture resistance, and verify de-escalation attempts. What’s more, it is expected that the presence of cameras encourages people on both sides of the lens to be the best version of themselves as they interact.
The research base on the impact of police body-worn cameras (BWCs) has grown rapidly, and, over time, the results have become increasingly mixed. This development poses two problems:
This Campbell systematic summarizes the evidence from 30 studies of the effects of BWCs on several officer and citizen behaviors.
The majority of studies are from the United States.
For a two page summary on the resource, click here.
Body-worn cameras (BWC) have diffused rapidly throughout policing as a means of promoting transparency and accountability. Yet, whether to release BWC footage to the public remains largely up to the discretion of police executives, and we know little about how they interpret and respond to BWC footage – particularly footage involving critical incidents.
Body-worn cameras (BWCs) have been presented as a technological innovation to cultivate greater civility in police–citizen interactions. Attempts have been made to clarify the impact of BWCs upon various policing outcomes, but the effects of BWCs on assaults against police has received scant research attention. Existing studies have been limited to a handful of jurisdictions with limited generalizability to a broader range of police organizations.
Arizona State University (ASU), a BWC TTA project partner, conducted a survey asking BWC PIP sites about their experiences with the recent protests, the value that BWCs added, challenges and problems each agency experienced, and solutions their agency implemented to overcome those challenges and problems.
In January of 2020, the National Police Foundation (NPF), in partnership with Arnold Ventures, co-sponsored a one-day conference, “Police Body-Worn Cameras: What Have We Learned Over Ten Years of Deployment?” This forum explored what we have learned about body cameras—both through scientific research and law enforcement practice—in the years since their deployment, as well as considerations for future implementation.
This study tests the effect of body‐worn cameras (BWCs) on stopped drivers’ perceptions of complying with police directives, obeying traffic laws, and cooperating with the police. A quasi‐randomized controlled trial was conducted with drivers stopped at routine traffic checkpoints. Drivers in the treatment group encountered police officers wearing BWCs, and drivers in the control group encountered police officers without BWCs. Surveys were administered after the stop.
Little is known about officer perceptions of body-worn cameras (BWCs), and whether perceptions change following implementation within their agencies. BWC deployment varies, with some agencies mandating officers to wear BWCs and others using volunteers. Researchers have yet to assess attitudinal differences between volunteers and mandated officers. This study addresses these gaps using data from an evaluation of BWCs in the Phoenix Police Department to examine officer perceptions of the utility of BWCs, perceptions of organizational justice, and support for using procedural justice.