It’s right that public institutions should take advantage of new technology to make our communities safer.
Victoria Police has recently announced that it will trial body worn cameras to help officers collect evidence, take statements, and keep a record of interactions with community members.
But it’s only fair that technological advances in policing be used to help and protect community members as much as they help and protect police officers.
So far, the Police Chief Commissioner has failed to guarantee that body worn cameras will be used in a way that is fair and transparent.
These cameras have the potential to help boost public confidence in policing by ensuring that officers and community members alike are held accountable for their actions.
But for this to work, everyone needs to trust the rules governing their use. This includes rules about when the cameras should be turned on, who has access to the footage, how long the footage is stored for, and how the program is monitored and evaluated.
Call on Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton to commit to fair and transparent rules around the use of body worn cameras, including:
1) Clear and publicly available guidelines concerning data retention periods;
2) Limits on discretionary use by officers and penalties for failure to activate;
3) Breadth of access for victims, their lawyers and the public; and
4) Rigorous evaluation prior to further expansion.