Body Worn Video Trial
If you are on the streets of Perth or Bunbury over the next six months, you may notice police officers wearing a new piece of equipment. Western Australia Police is trialling the use of body-worn video (BWV) cameras, to see how effective they can be in a WA policing environment.
Cameras are already being used by police agencies around the world, including many of our colleagues around the country. But this trial is a little different, in that it is being coordinated by the Evidence Based Policing team.
Deputy Commissioner (Operations) Stephen Brown said the idea is to scientifically test the difference between what happens when they cameras are worn and when they are not worn. “The cameras will only be worn on selected days in keeping with the trial design,” he said. “The outcomes for days when the cameras are worn will be compared to days when the cameras are not worn, to allow the strongest scientific grounds for concluding that the different outcomes are caused by the presence of the cameras.”
Officers will be wearing one of either the Axon Flex or the Axon Body 2 cameras, supplied by Taser International in partnership with Breon Defence systems. The Axon Flex features a lightweight, point-of-view camera, mounted on the frame of glasses with removable lenses. The Axon Body 2 is mounted to the officer’s chest.
Mr Brown explained it will be compulsory for officers issued with cameras to use them as part of standard deployment through the trial. “The cameras are high visibility, with a standard script for officers to inform members of the public they are being filmed,” he said.
The trial begins in Bunbury in May 2016, and extends to the Perth subdistrict from June. Officers from Regional Operations Group and Mounted Unit who regularly attend night operations in Northbridge will also be issued with cameras as part of the trial in Perth. In all, approximately 300 devices have been procured for the trial, which will run for six months.
The trial will then be assessed to determine whether there is enough evidence to support the roll-out of the cameras to other parts of WA. The intent is to establish evidence on whether BWV can produce the following outcomes:
- Increase early guilty pleas
- Provide frontline efficiencies in records of interview
- Reduce the need for Use of Force by police officers
- Reduce complaints/false reports against the police
- Reduce assaults on officers
- Reduce fear of crime in local communities and increase public reassurance
- Improve police legitimacy
- Improve behaviours for police and the community
For more information see our Body Worn Video Frequently Asked Questions