Security is very important, very important. Equally important is the individual who ensures that security is the order of the day. These people are the line separating order from chaos. We sometimes do not do enough to appreciate these people enough. It is very easy to install a nanny cam but not so easy to appreciate the effort that babysitter is putting in to keep your kids out of harm. A nanny cam with audio cannot catch your child who is falling as a result of a trip. The same goes for a truck dash cam and a thief. Unlike the truck driver who will try to stop that thief from getting what he wants, your truck dash cam will only take a record of the incident for you to use as evidence in catching the thief.
I do not intend to downplay the role of security gadgets. My point is that individuals are equally as important as security gadgets. Most times, we do not even use these security gadgets efficiently. This is because we use them to keep tabs on individuals who we should be using them to support. Let us use the police for example, let us imagine that they make use of body cameras. I am sure one or two persons are wondering why will a policeman or policewoman be needing a camera? Are body cameras really helpful for police? Here are some facts you should know. These facts will enlighten you and make you the judge. With these facts, you will be able to decide if body cameras on police officers are a plus or otherwise.
United Kingdom report
After testing body cameras in Plymouth, in 2007, the police announced that complaints against the officers wearing the cameras had been reduced to zero and time spent on paperwork had been reduced by 22.4%. This led to a 9.2% increase in officer time spent on patrol using a "50 minutes of a 9-hour shift" plan (Wikipedia). This means police officers have to spend more time in the field than in offices. This is a likely cause of brain drain if you ask me. Detectives will no longer enjoy the thrill of scrutinizing evidence to crack cases.
The Grampian police gave a report in 2011 on how it saved about four hundred thousand pounds due to the use of body cameras. This was as a result of reducing of fear of crime in local communities, quick resolution of complaints about police officers, increased trust and public perception about the police force and so on.
United States Report
Not every city in the US mandates its state police wear body cameras. In the year 2014, President Barack Obama proposed reimbursing communities half the cost of buying cameras and storing video. A plan that would require Congress to authorize seventy-five million dollars over the course of three years to help purchase fifty thousand visual recording devices. This is quite a lump sum if you ask me. Some states are however implementing the use of body cameras and below are the results. Reports showed that complaints against officers from citizens dropped by eighty-eight percent and use of force by officers also dropped by fifty-nine percent. There was also another report that studied the effects of body cameras for some officers of the Orlando Police Department over one year. It stated that for officers wearing the body cameras, incidents involving use of force dropped by fifty-three percent, civilian complaints dropped by sixty-five percent. The report also has it that two in three officers who wore the cameras said they would want to continue wearing them in the future and that it made them better officers. There were cases however, where criminal incidents were not recorded as officers forgot to turn on their body cameras. A new technology that enabled the body camera to record incidents thirty seconds before the camera is turned on and thirty seconds after it was turned off was introduced.
The UK and the US are not the only countries implementing the use of body cameras. France, Denmark, China and a host of other countries are implementing the use of body cameras. I only decided to use them as my case studies.
Despite its impact, people are still raising questions about the effectiveness and efficiency of this technology. Issues about battery and power were one it is still contending with. People are questioning how many hours this camera can keep recording before it runs out of juice. People are also questioning their storage. How much storage can it carry? Where are the footages stored? Who and who has access to the recordings? People are also questioning its use by certain officers. What are the consequences when an officer refuses to turn it on? Even police officers have their questions. What will happen if I forget to turn it on? Since these devices are usually worn in front, what measures do I take if attacked from behind? The challenges are there and mounting.
Most of the reports are talking about how much body cameras are protecting the citizens. Like I stated at the beginning of this article, we seem to be more concerned about watching the person we entrust with our safety than anything else. This article has given us an insight as to what we can do when we combine the efforts of both security gadgets and security personnel. Reports also have it that brutality against police officers has reduced by over seventy-eight percent in some hostile areas. People are now conscious of their behavior towards the police as the police is conscious of its behavior towards people as both parties know that they are now being watched. Like I said earlier, you will be the judge not me. So what is your take on police officers wearing body cameras? Is it a good development? Is it a bad development? Will it reduce the use of force? Are there lapses or loopholes regarding its use? Let me get your take on this.