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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 would promote transparency and accountability

The availability of police cameras will record contemporaneous footage of any incident, providing better transparency and accountability for police actions.

The Argument

Due to the numerous reported incidents relating to police brutality, there is a push for police to wear body cameras. The argument is that the wearing of these cameras will record the incidents making provision for contemporaneous evidence, and will lead to greater transparency and accountability. The cameras would record good and bad behaviour of the police acting as a deterrent against excessive police force, and discriminatory policing, overall improving policing standards, and building trust with communities. Early studies of police being equipped with body cameras of ten departments between the US and the UK has shown a decrease of 37% in the use of force in comparison to their control group. It is argued that the body cameras assist the process of transparency and accountability as we live in a world of social media, and when incidents occur they can be recorded from the bystander's view. Having an account of how events transpired from the police officer's periphery would also be helpful in resolving and understanding the positon. The admissibility of such objective evidence would assist in the resolution of matters transparently. [1]

Counter arguments

Michael Brown was one of many unarmed African Americans killed in 2014 by police officers. This incident sparked a demand for body cameras to be used by police leading the Obama administration to set aside $75million for police to invest in body cameras. Six years on, in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and the protests that followed, the questions surrounding police transparency and accountability have resurfaced. A study that took place in 2017 analysing the behaviour of cops with cameras and a control group without cameras found that there was little difference in the behaviours of the two groups. It is averred that although there is a push to have more body cameras to avoid excessive police force to promote transparency and accountability, even if transparency is attained, it is fruitless without accountability. There is little resolve if a police officer has been seen on video using excess force, and yet suffers little to no consequences to their actions. [2]

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://cpoa.org/police-body-worn-cameras-transparency-achievable/
  2. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/newsletters/2020-06-05/should-police-officers-wear-body-cameras
This page was last edited on Monday, 26 Oct 2020 at 11:32 UTC

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