Police Accountability To Increase With Roll Out Of Body Cameras

WA Police will soon be equipped with body cameras, after Police Commissioner Chris Dawson announced the roll out will commence in early 2019.

Police accountability will be increased while crime rates are expected to decrease.

WA is one of the last states to implement body camera technology for police officers and will not come into effect for another 7 months.

Trials back in 2016 saw unexpected outcomes and hindered implementing the cameras sooner.

However Mr Dawson commented on the success that other jurisdictions have had, brining forwards matters to be resolved in court, assisted with better recorded evidence.

“Body worn video on police has found globally to be a very effective way of actually capturing evidence and keeping all parties to account,” Mr Dawson said.

Lawyer John Hammond said the cameras are a great facility for recounting specific incident details and can provide essential evidence in court proceedings.

“Everyone will soon get to know whatever you’re doing is going to be recorded and there’s no way of rebutting or contradicting what’s on the record,” he said.

However, Mr Hammond believes a lack anonymity for informants making reports will deter them from providing information.

“When it comes to police informants they’ll be worried about whether they are being recorded or not, they’ll never be certain… So a lot of tip offs to police might actually decrease,”

“I see that as the downside of body cameras,” Mr Hammond explained.

He said the fair thing to do is notifying people if they are being recorded.

However, people interacting with police will certainly think about every move they take, knowing their actions could possibly be recorded; hopefully reducing the aggression and assaults towards police officers.

Young people will be less likely to be unrightfully accused for crimes they might not have committed.

Mr Hammond said they can rest assured they won’t be unreasonably victimised or targeted by police that may want to step across the line.

“Everything is being record, that’s what they need to realise,” he said.

It is expected that over 3,500 officers will be equipped.

The body cameras will be rolled out across metro and regional WA, with the first 200 cameras deployed within the Perth District, and a further 450 cameras planned for the the traffic enforcement group, Goldfields-Esperance and Pilbara districts by mid 2019.

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