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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 deter police from acting irrationally

In the wake of the George Floyd murder, police cameras can play a significant part in deterring law enforcement officials from acting in excess of their powers.

The Argument

A randomised control trial was conducted comprising of 400 LVMPD police officers, where half of the officers were made to wear body cameras, and the other half, the control group, were not. A year into the trial, it was found that police officers with cameras found a reduction in complaints against them by 30%, whereas police officers without cameras only saw a reduction of 5%. More significantly, police officers with cameras reduced use of force by 37% as opposed to their counterparts who saw an increase in their use of force by 4%. This suggests that the use of body cameras can reduce irrational use of force by police significantly. [1]

Counter arguments

Despite the introductions of body cameras, police brutality and the irrational use of force has not served as a deterrent. George Floyd was in police custody when he was murdered. The Minneapolis Police Department confirmed that the body cameras were on at the time of the murder. It was not the bodycam, but the footage of bystanders that revealed how George Floyd died. This suggests that the cameras themselves are not the silver bullet, it depends on how they are used by the police. The current rules on the release of the footage are varied, and over the years a lot of footage has not released by departments despite requests. Research on the use of force has been mixed. Although some studies suggest that the use of force decreases in the absence of a camera, other studies suggest that there is no significant difference in the use of force exhibited by police whether or not they are wearing cameras. This suggests that police cameras alone have very limited impact on the irrational behaviours capable of being exhibited by police, such as the use of excessive force as seen in George Floyd's case. [2]

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171129091431.htm
  2. https://www.wired.com/story/body-cameras-stopped-police-brutality-george-floyd/
This page was last edited on Monday, 26 Oct 2020 at 12:05 UTC

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