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Victoria Police in its first stage of state-wide body-worn cameras rollout

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.

Credit: Victoria Police

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.

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