29 August 2019

Police now allowed to activate body cameras in public places

| Lachlan Roberts
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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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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.

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

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