Police now allowed to activate body cameras in public places

Lachlan Roberts 29 August 2019 41

More than 480 kits will be rolled out across ACT Policing over the next year. Photo: George Tsotsos.

ACT Policing has expanded the use of body-worn cameras, now allowing officers to activate the camera in public places.

From 28 August, the second phase of the technology rollout will enable officers to manually activate their body cameras in a public place and inside private premises, but only after the occupant gives their express permission.

Under phase one, which commenced on 19 March 2019, all body-worn cameras in close proximity are automatically activated as a soon as a firearm or taser was drawn from its holster, recording multiple views of the incident.

ACT Policing members who have already been issued with a body-worn camera will have to complete an additional training course before they are permitted to use the cameras in the wider range of circumstances.

Over the next 12 months, more than 480 body-worn camera kits will be rolled out to bolster the ACT Policing’s current 369 kits.

An ACT Policing spokesperson said some of the benefits of body-worn cameras include providing an accurate record of events that are difficult to dispute, improving the quality of evidence presented in court, cutting time spent writing written statements and providing police with greater protection against excessive use of force claims.

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41 Responses to Police now allowed to activate body cameras in public places
Alex Moose Williams Alex Moose Williams 7:14 pm 02 Sep 19

What next.

Facial recognition.

Mandatory identification.

Search of persons at police discretion.

Colin Wilson Colin Wilson 1:50 pm 01 Sep 19

They shouldn’t need permission.

Andrew Neal Andrew Neal 1:26 pm 01 Sep 19

Why can’t they just have them on full time?

They’re there for protection and evidence.

    Chrissto Melba Chrissto Melba 4:30 pm 01 Sep 19

    How would you like to have every word you say at work, every private conversation you have with a colleague, recorded and reviewed by your boss? Sounds like a fun shift...no-one would be game to speak at all. Not to mention anyone being able to do a Freedom of Information request and get footage of you going to the toilet.

    Andrew Neal Andrew Neal 4:57 pm 01 Sep 19

    Chrissto Melba if I was in a position which is a vulnerable as a police officer and I knew this was part of the job I would not have a single issue in the world with this.

    Obviously freedom of information laws would have to be changed to only allow should the police officers be involved with a situation which required video.

    End of the day they should be doing everything by the law so should have no issues, regardless.

    Chrissto Melba Chrissto Melba 6:30 pm 02 Sep 19

    Andrew Neal It's not about 'doing everything by the law'. Do you seriously expect workers to have every single word they say at work recorded? Normal workmate conversations: "Gee, the Boss is in a bad mood today", criticising management...sacked. "That ACT Govt policy on the news last night is a bit stupid"....critising Govt policy..sacked. "That new girl at the office is nice...I might ask her out"...possible sexist inappropriate comment ...sacked. "My ex-wife is being a bitch"... derogatory and sexist comment which then gets played in Family Law Court after being subpoenaed ... lose custody of children. "I had a big night on Saturday at a party, drank a bit too much!"...has a drinking problem, requires counselling. It would be a very sad and sorry workplace where all staff just sat around silent all day, not willing to engage in simple conversation with their workmates out of fear of saying something inappropriate which is recorded and then may later be reviewed.

    Andrew Neal Andrew Neal 6:42 pm 02 Sep 19

    Chrissto Melba plenty of jobs out there with security cameras? Casino workers, cashiers, bankers, the list goes on.

    I fail to see the problem here?

    Chrissto Melba Chrissto Melba 8:55 pm 02 Sep 19

    Andrew Neal None of those jobs have audio recording of every word, every sentence, every utterance, every comment... even if they are muttering to themselves with no other person around... that their employee makes at all times. You would seriously be OK with every single thing you said all day being recorded? Everything? You seriously think that would be a productive working environment?

    David Murn David Murn 6:50 pm 03 Sep 19

    All commercial pilots have their words recorded on cockpit voice recorders.

Daniel Van de Zandt Daniel Van de Zandt 12:32 pm 01 Sep 19

And they can turn it off when they gonna get rough.

Jolanta Noj-Matheson Jolanta Noj-Matheson 9:30 am 01 Sep 19

Yeah and turn them off when it suits them..........

    Rod Carter Rod Carter 2:34 pm 02 Sep 19

    Ah Canberra! Where people who have never done a days Police work, can give advise on how to do it.

    Matt Donnelly - Liberal Democrats ACT Matt Donnelly - Liberal Democrats ACT 5:37 pm 02 Sep 19

    Jolanta Noj-Matheson, and that’s why it’s always a good idea to record public interactions with the police, for your safety and their accountability.

    Jolanta Noj-Matheson Jolanta Noj-Matheson 6:46 pm 02 Sep 19

    Matt Donnelly - Liberal Democrats ACT YesI wonder how it will be admissible in court until your lot makes it a crime to do so.

    Matt Donnelly - Liberal Democrats ACT Matt Donnelly - Liberal Democrats ACT 7:14 pm 16 Jan 20

    ”My lot”? I represent the Liberal Democrats, not the Liberals. Whole different party.

    The Liberal Democrats campaign for smaller government and greater personal freedom. We push for increased accountability of govt (incl. its officials). More cameras in the hands of police, and the public they interact with, will help to ensure that.

    Jolanta Noj-Matheson Jolanta Noj-Matheson 7:44 pm 16 Jan 20

    Matt Donnelly - Liberal Democrats ACT Smaller government, how do you equate it with a growing population? And what about personal freedom, seems to me like freedoms in Australia are being eroded.

Matt Bush Matt Bush 8:25 am 01 Sep 19

Surely the whole point of these is an always-on, rolling buffer? Basically a CCTV camera mounted to a human?

Steve Ulr Steve Ulr 7:43 am 01 Sep 19

They should be turned on the minute they call in with sitrep. No exceptions.

Meegan Ward Meegan Ward 6:18 am 01 Sep 19

I support the use of them, police put themselves in danger every day, for their own safety, let alone the public. If they are doing their job by the law I find no issue with the use of them. We ask so much of the police and safety services, Ambos, 🏥 staff, etc, they should be given the respect they have worked so hard to give unconditionally. Thanks for the great protection. 🙌🌟⭐🌟🙏.

Alex SmilyLex Alex SmilyLex 2:42 am 01 Sep 19

they need to have been able to automatically/mandatorily done it for years

Adam Hughes Adam Hughes 9:45 pm 31 Aug 19

I feel we should introduce a new rule/law. Anyone who complains about the Police doing their job, is excluded from using their services when they are required by said person.

    Ashley Keaveney Ashley Keaveney 10:21 pm 31 Aug 19

    Adam Hughes because police are never corrupt?...

    Adam Hughes Adam Hughes 10:45 pm 31 Aug 19

    Ashley Keaveney your statement implies all police are corrupt

    Adam Hughes Adam Hughes 10:46 pm 31 Aug 19

    Ashley Keaveney i would also be interested to know how many 'corrupt' police officers you've personally encountered.

    Geoff Baldwin Geoff Baldwin 11:31 pm 31 Aug 19

    Adam Hughes sadly they’re around and surprisingly I don’t agree with your point. Police are there to serve without fear or favour and not deserving help isn’t a criteria. Imagine if hospitals refused to treat people with drug, alcohol or smoking illnesses ?

    Adam Hughes Adam Hughes 7:54 am 01 Sep 19

    Geoff Baldwin I'm not disagreeing that some cops are corrupt. But most of the ones I've come across are pretty decent, maybe I'm just being naive though 🤔

    Geoff Baldwin Geoff Baldwin 9:03 am 01 Sep 19

    Adam Hughes corruption to me means not doing the right or moral thing when no one is watching. Taking money etc isn’t common but the other forms are more insidious

    Joshua F. Johnson Joshua F. Johnson 12:45 pm 01 Sep 19

    Adam Hughes happily, so long as I’m

    Allowed to use the tools they use to defend my property and liberty. And don’t need to pay taxes for their services I see no issue in your underlying premise

    Ryan Daniel Ryan Daniel 2:00 pm 01 Sep 19

    Adam Hughes wouldn’t that mean those corrupt ones could never be addressed if nobody was allowed to speak about it without being disallowed from accessing policing services? Seems like a bad idea

    James Stone James Stone 2:31 pm 01 Sep 19

    Spoken like a true Moron. Video protects both parties, video that is turned on and off at selected times only protects one party.

    Adam Hughes Adam Hughes 3:08 pm 01 Sep 19

    James Stone my original comment makes no mention of video use. Moron.

    Andrew Neal Andrew Neal 4:03 pm 01 Sep 19

    I would think body cameras on full time would also reduce the number of corrupt police as their every move would be documented.

David Brown David Brown 9:08 pm 31 Aug 19

Meaning they can turn them off at will? Remember Justine. 😢

Brad Adams Brad Adams 8:57 pm 31 Aug 19

There’s laws about how much an employer can film and where they can film their employees. Plus the civil libertarians don’t want to be filmed by police and further privacy issues with filming on private property. This all means that the cameras can’t be on full time and there is no other way to manage it other than to have the officer be able to turn it on and off.

However the research shows that even when officers turn the cameras on and off substantiated complaints remain the same and unsubstantiated complaints dropped to almost zero. On the whole police act appropriately. What the cameras stop is the baseless vexatious complaints.

Pete Martin Pete Martin 7:30 pm 31 Aug 19

Can we record said recording?

    Matt Donnelly - Liberal Democrats ACT Matt Donnelly - Liberal Democrats ACT 5:33 pm 02 Sep 19

    Pete Martin, with a few exceptions, Australians are free to record anything they can see from a public space. Most police services actively encourage citizens to film officers going about their duties in public.

Jason Ezra Jason Ezra 6:40 pm 31 Aug 19

Can a citizen ask them to record an interaction?

Shane Bollard Shane Bollard 6:40 pm 31 Aug 19

they should always be on.

Spiral Spiral 4:22 pm 31 Aug 19

Presumably police should be able to turn them off. I imagine most of us would not be willing to have a body camera on while going to the toilet.

Spiral Spiral 2:34 pm 31 Aug 19

They should be on anytime they interact with the public to protect both the police and the public.

Kylee Taylor Kylee Taylor 10:45 am 31 Aug 19

Why do they need permission? Excuse me civilians who are trying to assault me or falsely accuse me of something, do you mind if I turn on my camera? No? Ok then, carry on.

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