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What are the pros and cons of police wearing body cameras? Show more Show less
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Police body cameras can eliminate issues of hearsay between parties when others are not present at the time of an incident. There are, however, concerns about their reliability, how these cameras are used, what impact they have on police officers' health, issues of privacy and how much they assist.

Police cameras are beneficial Show more Show less

Police cameras are beneficial as they promote transparency, accountability, and serve to deter law enforcement officials in acting irrationally. They also heal community relationships.
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Police cameras promote community and law enforcement relationships

Police cameras may seek to promote the relationship between the community and law enforcement officials, leading to a decrease in complaints against the police.

The Argument

Police cameras are likely to alleviate the lack of trust and promote citizen-police relations. The body camera is able to do this in two ways. It serves as a deterrent to the police officer in acting in a manner that involves using excess force where unnecessary, and in the same respect, stops any citizen from acting in an unlawful manner towards police. Both are deterred at the risk of their actions having consequences. Secondly, the body camera leads to both the officer and the citizen to become more self aware of their actions. It promotes them to consider what steps they will take, and whether these are correct or necessary rather than acting on impulse. This self-awareness will reduce the conflict, and promote more amicable discourse where an incident arises. It is suggested that this external (deterrent) and internal (self-awareness) approach, leads to better community relations between citizens and police. Studies have suggested a reduction in police complaints of 78% in one department with the use of body cameras, as opposed to 50% in the control group, and a 90% reduction of complaints against police officers with body cameras in another department. There was also a reduction of complaints against LVMPD officers when provided a body camera. [1]

Counter arguments

Research conducted over six jurisdictions has found that there was not a discernable difference in the use of force exerted by police with a camera on, but more significantly, police wearing body cameras were more likely to be assaulted by a suspect. It is suggested that the presence of a camera may escalate an already heated situation between the police and an individual. [2] It is suggested that although wearing of a body camera by police is supported, the level of trust towards police with the use of cameras has not increased. It is argued that they are being used as tools by officers to collect evidence against the citizen and vice versa, further increasing tensions. A further concern that eradicates trust is the use of the footage. The release of footage varies by departments, and can be redacted or witheld by certain departments. [3]

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/251416.pdf
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1477370816643734
  3. https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2020/01/14/body-cameras-may-not-be-the-easy-answer-everyone-was-looking-for
This page was last edited on Monday, 26 Oct 2020 at 15:31 UTC

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