Body cam­eras to cap­ture ev­i­dence


Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Opinion - Lau­ren Pilat

IN­CI­DENTS in­clud­ing do­mes­tic and fam­ily violence will be recorded by po­lice of­fi­cers wear­ing body-worn video (BWV) cam­eras, with a trial start­ing next year.

Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Karl O’Cal­laghan and Po­lice Min­is­ter Liza Har­vey an­nounced on Novem­ber 11 at The Rise in May­lands that the new tech­nol­ogy would be tri­alled from March for six months.

Perth re­sponse teams, Perth lo­cal polic­ing teams and units in the Traf­fic En­force­ment Group and Re­gional Oper­a­tions Group will be the first to trial the BWV.

It will be com­pul­sory for of­fi­cers is­sued with the highly vis­i­ble cam­eras to use them as part of stan­dard de­ploy­ment and re­cite a script to in­form sub­jects they were be­ing filmed.

Mr O’Cal­laghan said the ini­tial cost of the trial cam­eras would be about half a mil­lion dol­lars, with the footage cap­tured used in court as ev­i­dence.

“Po­lice want this be­cause in ev­ery sit­u­a­tion there’s a po­ten­tial for some­one to make a com­plaint about them. It’s sup­ported by the union; they’ve been ask­ing for it for a long time,” he said.

“In­ter­ac­tions, wit­nesses’ state­ments, of­fender state­ments will be cap­tured on video and there will be no ques­tions about what the sit­u­a­tion was at the time be­cause it will be avail­able for ev­ery­one to see.

“In a fam­ily violence sit­u­a­tion, it would en­able you to record the vic­tim and the per­pe­tra­tor and the chil­dren.

“Vic­tims of­ten change their minds later and need to be re­minded about what hap­pened on the night, so there will be a whole range of things we will be able to do that we couldn’t do be­fore.”

Mrs Har­vey said BWV would value add, with peo­ple be­hav­ing bet­ter when they know they were be­ing filmed.

“BWV is a really good way to doc­u­ment what ac­tu­ally hap­pens,” she said.

“There’s op­por­tu­nity in that for po­ten­tially more guilty pleas, less court time and a less ex­pen­sive jus­tice process.”

Deputy Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Stephen Brown said BWV find­ings from other coun­tries in­cluded ad­di­tional guilty pleas, re­duced as­saults on po­lice and re­duced force used by po­lice.

Mr O’Cal­laghan said re­spon­si­bil­ity was on the of­fi­cer to turn the cam­era on and if it was not ac­ti­vated or had been turned off, there would be an in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

He said WA Po­lice had tech­nol­ogy to know whether the video or vi­sion had been tam­pered with or erased.

Pic­ture: Lau­ren Pilat

Po­lice Min­is­ter Liza Har­vey, Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Karl O’Cal­laghan and In­spec­tors Vic Hussey and Rob Har­ri­son at the po­lice fo­rum at The Rise in May­lands.

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