There is a long history of violence between assailants and security personnel of all kinds; police officers, bodyguards, hospital security guards and the like. People under the influence of various substances or alcohol, patient relatives, domestic abusers and similar types of aggressive individuals tend to lash out at security people whose only job is to maintain order. In this type of situations, a lot of people get injured on both sides and cause property damage as well on some occasions. While some members of the community might think that the security staff and police officers are heavy-handed and quick to respond, they are ultimately there to keep people and their establishments safe. As expected, there is also a legal aspect to these altercations, and it is a challenging task to discern who is right and if the actions of the staff were justifiable. At least, that was the case until the rise of body-worn camera technology. These small and discreet cameras provide invaluable legal evidence and document all incidents in high definition audio and video.
A Cambridge University study shows that complaints by the community against police officers with body cameras reduced by 93% over 12 months compared to the year before. The study involved 2000 police officers from various locations in the UK and US. Dr. Barak Ariel, who led the project, said no other policing measure resulted in such “radical” changes in the past.
The research set a precedent and accelerated the transition to body-worn cameras for a lot of police forces all around the world. With such concrete data at hand, countless police departments all over the US and UK were granted funds to arm their workforce with advanced video recording devices. Authorities and business owners expect that these cameras will not only catch violent incidents on camera but also act as a deterrent to visitors, patients and other people assaulting each other and the security staff.
According to laws, security personnel are only allowed to issue verbal warnings, ask someone to leave, check for ID and refuse entry. But if the person they are engaging is persistent, they might be subjected to a physical attack and have to defend themselves. Since they are legally not allowed to hit someone or restrain them in a chokehold, they will need to subdue the person in contact quickly or prove to authorities that they had to use force. In such cases, body cam devices act as a recording device to obtain footage, and this footage can be used as evidence to resolve the complaints that will surely follow. Body-worn cameras, combined with CCTV, prove to be an excellent security system for establishments. There is a visible and quantifiable difference in human behavior where there is a camera involved.
The intended purpose of body-worn camera technology is completely different for law enforcement agencies because the use of force is an inevitable truth for police officers. The disputes they respond to usually end up with common crimes such as resisting arrest, insulting and assaulting an officer added to the original offense. To secure convictions in such situations, you need proof of the crime. Otherwise, perpetrators can avoid punishment due to lack of evidence or even on a technicality. Most of the time, witnesses and victims are coerced to change their testimony, which is why courts have a hard time indicting the perpetrators. But police officers outfitted with a body-cam can take statements from the witnesses on the crime scene and guarantee that the offender suffers the consequences of their actions.
Law enforcement agencies, entertainment venue owners, healthcare facilities and other similar businesses spend billions in settlements each year to resolve claims. Agencies and enterprises experience a dramatic decrease in complaints and claims as soon as they integrate body camera technology into their systems. These small video recorders also have additional benefits that help agencies to improve their training protocols; tactics, communication and community interaction by using the recorded footage as an example for the recruits. This data can also help identify the aspects that can be adjusted for better training.
The preventive aspect of body-worn video cameras is what makes them ideal for conflict resolution and perfect for police departments as well as any businesses with security personnel. Guards and law enforcement officers equipped with lightweight devices can capture HD recording of an incident on their uniforms that is admissible for legal proceedings. Body-worn cameras are a proven deterrent in face to face altercations, and they are the main cause of the massive drop in complaints against officers and the number of arguments between the community and the security staff. The main focus of the body-worn cameras is to reduce the use of force whether it is justified or unjustified and it seems to be working.