NSW Police has rolled out ‘Body Worn Video’ (BWV) cameras in Cowra in an effort to help gather evidence and improve both community and officer safety.
Cowra Police started using the cameras last week following a state wide roll out. Cowra Police Inspector Adam Beard said police have already used the cameras a number of times.
“BWV has been rolled out across the state over the last couple of years, Cowra and our stations have just had the cameras installed to the stations,” Inspector Beard said.
“What that means is operational police will be wearing these cameras on their vests or on their shirts, which can be activated at any time.”
Insp. Beard said the cameras have already assisted police.
“There’s been a decrease in complaints in relation to police behaviour,” he said.
“There’s been an increase in guilty pleas which has seen a reduction in police time in court and a reduction in the court’s time, and there’s been less assaults on police.”
Insp. Beard also noted the cameras have already been useful in defusing tense situations.
“One of the things staff have already commented on is that, the cameras actually modify peoples’ behaviour,” he said.
“Once they know they are being recorded, it seems to have a calming effect on a situation.”
The cameras feature high definition video and audio and, according to NSW Police, officers can activate the record function of the camera at their discretion. Examples of when police officers may use the BWV camera include:
- When they would normally use their official notebook to record information
- To capture evidence or record something of relevance
- When exercising a police power
“It can be very compelling and can really make a difference as far as gathering evidence and presenting evidence in court,” Insp. Beard said.
“We all know that a video or even a photo can show and tell so much more than the written word and this is a really good example of being able to capture the moment. We see it as a great advancement to policing.”