Body worn cameras are more popular now than ever before, with the majority of front line police officers now wearing body worn cameras. This can help to reduce crime and complaints against police officers, but now Police Scotland has said that the cameras may breach privacy laws.
A new internal police report has found that the body worn cameras are questionable when it comes to the current data protection laws and it turns out that police officials hoped to keep the report secret.
The cameras are currently being used by the majority of police officers to record interactions with the public, and it is likely that more cameras will be issued over the next few years, despite their questionable nature.
The problem with body worn cameras
There are lots of benefits to body worn cameras; they can help to speed up court pleas and they help to reduce crime. They have also helped to prosecute domestic abusers in cases where the victim isn’t willing to make a statement.
That isn’t all; the cameras are also holding police to a high standard. According to the Huffington Post, a recent study found that complaints against police officers filed by citizens have decreased since officers began wearing the cameras.
This is all great news, but there are problems too. The cameras don’t have any internal information technology support, and so it is difficult for them to be properly monitored and managed. The cameras are also more intrusive than CCTV as they are mobile, and the continuous recording means that the cameras are also filming lots of people going about their daily lives, as well as recording possible criminals. Many people will find this fairly intrusive, especially in a time when many people feel like there is too much public surveillance.
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The main issue for police officers is that body worn cameras come with both advantages and disadvantages. It has been proven that the cameras can help to reduce crime, but they are also fairly intrusive. For this reason, it is likely that body worn cameras will only be used in certain scenarios, and police officers should ensure that members of the public know that they are being recorded if the body worn camera is on.