Body cam­eras for po­lice at Bun­yip

Warragul & Drouin Gazette - - DROUIN THE PLACE TO LIVE... -

Bun­yip Po­lice will be amongst an ad­di­tional 800 po­lice to be fit­ted out with body cam­eras by the end of this year.

Fol­low­ing an ini­tial pi­lot in Bal­larat and Ep­ping, Vic­to­ria Po­lice will roll out body worn cam­eras to po­lice at an ex­tra 59 sta­tions by the end of the year fol­low­ing in­fra­struc­ture up­grades to th­ese sta­tions.

A body worn cam­era is a tool worn on a po­lice of­fi­cer’s uni­form which is used to record video and au­dio ev­i­dence.

By the end of this year, body worn cam­eras will be in­tro­duced to gen­eral du­ties and high­way pa­trol po­lice of­fi­cers of the rank of sergeant at Bun­yip, Pak­en­ham and Koo wee rup sta­tions.

As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Rus­sell Bar­rett said an eval­u­a­tion of the new tech­nol­ogy in Bal­larat and Ep­ping re­turned positive re­sults.

“The in­tro­duc­tion of body worn cam­eras is ex­pected to de­liver im­proved com­mu­nity safety, en­hanced ev­i­dence gather­ing, in­creased po­lice safety and ac­count­abil­ity,” he said.

“We eval­u­ated the ini­tial roll out of cam­eras to Bal­larat and Ep­ping po­lice sta­tions in April to test whether the tech­nol­ogy was be­ing used cor­rectly and to de­ter­mine any ar­eas for im­prove­ment.

“We found that the cam­era us­age poli­cies, in­fra­struc­ture and train­ing for po­lice had worked well and po­lice were com­fort­able us­ing the tech­nol­ogy within their first one or two shifts.

“Footage cap­tured by the cam­eras within a six week pe­riod was in­stru­men­tal in se­cur­ing guilty pleas in at least four court cases, which is a great re­sult for us,” Ass Cmr Bar­rett said.

Mem­ber for Eastern Vic­to­ria Re­gion Har­riet Shing said the cam­eras would be used to cap­ture au­dio and video in­ter­ac­tions be­tween po­lice of­fi­cers and mem­bers of the pub­lic, as well as real?time cap­ture of video ev­i­dence at the scene of a crime.

She said the cam­eras would help strengthen com­mu­nity safety and help to im­prove trans­parency and ac­count­abil­ity in po­lice in­ter­ac­tions amongst the pub­lic.

Po­lice will turn the cam­eras on when­ever they are ex­er­cis­ing po­lice pow­ers, col­lect­ing ev­i­dence or when it would pro­vide trans­parency to a po­lice in­ter­ac­tion.

Strict laws were in­tro­duced last year to en­sure ad­e­quate pro­tec­tions are in place against the unau­tho­rised dis­clo­sure of footage.

“Body worn cam­eras will help strengthen com­mu­nity safety in Gipp­s­land, im­prove ev­i­dence gather­ing, and in­crease ac­count­abil­ity and bet­ter in­ter­ac­tion be­tween po­lice and the com­mu­nity.”

“They have al­ready led to quicker re­sults through the courts and we ex­pect th­ese ben­e­fits will con­tinue as they’re de­ployed to more and more front­line po­lice.

“We’re giv­ing po­lice in Gipp­s­land and across Vic­to­ria, the re­sources, pow­ers and tech­nol­ogy they need to tar­get and in­ves­ti­gate crime and sup­port a safer Vic­to­ria,” Ms Shing said.

Vic­to­ria Po­lice aims to have ev­ery gen­eral du­ties po­lice and Pro­tec­tive Ser­vice Of­fi­cer equipped with body worn cam­eras by 2020.

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