Victoria Police in its first stage of state-wide body-worn cameras rollout
Minister for Police Lisa Neville recently launched the first stage of the Victoria Police state-wide roll out of body worn cameras to boost community safety.
“We’re giving police the most advanced technology in the country to help them do their jobs and keep Victorians safe,” said Minister Neville.
“These cameras will help strengthen community safety, improve evidence gathering, and increase accountability and better interaction between police and the community,” she added.
The first stage of state-wide rollout will see 150 cameras deployed this month in Epping and followed by Ballarat on 23 April. Police in the Epping and Ballarat communities will be patrolling with body-worn cameras to better respond to and investigate crime.
The new small, battery‐powered cameras will be worn on the uniform of general duties police officers as part of a 6-week pilot of the new technology. Police will turn the cameras on whenever they are exercising police powers, collecting evidence or when it would provide transparency to a police interaction.
The cameras will help strengthen community safety and help to improve transparency and accountability in police interactions with the public. Information from the trial will help inform police policies and procedures ahead of the full rollout of 11,000 cameras to police officers working in the community right across Victoria by 2020.
Victoria Police stated that it values the positive relationship it has with the community. It also understands that some people may have concerns about police recording incidents using body worn cameras. According to the Victoria Police, body-worn camera footage is defined as Protected Information under the Surveillance Devices Act. Only authorised officers will have access to the footage and access will be monitored and tracked.
The investment is a part of the Government’s A$227 million technology investment to modernise police technology through the delivery of a new intelligence system and the ongoing rollout of iPads to police and Protective Service Officers (PSOs).
Victoria Police has been leveraging technology for smarter policing across the state. The Government’s investment in police technology is designed to create a more modern and efficient police force and to ensure officers have a greater presence in the community by spending more time proactively policing and less time being station-bound.
As reported earlier, the investment is also part of the Government’s AUS$596 million Public Safety Package announced in the Victorian Budget 2016/17 and supports recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence.
Recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence called for the trial and evaluation of body worn cameras to collect statements from victims to use as evidence in court. They can be used to capture audio and video interactions between police officers and members of the public and real‐time capture video evidence at the scene of a crime.
The technology will support the Victorian Government’s more than A$2 billion police investment, which includes a record recruitment of 3,135 new police.