Frontline police in Kempsey will be the first regional officers in NSW to use Body Worn Video cameras.
From today, police in the Kempsey district will wear the cameras on their uniform, allowing officers to record incidents or events where visual and audio evidence will support an investigation.
Body Worn Video (BWV) was first introduced in Sydney’s eastern suburbs three months ago. Kempsey is the second locality in NSW, and the first regional area, where officers will be appointed with the cameras.
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NSW Police Force completed a successful trial of BWV camera technology in 2013 and 2014, proving the viability of the concept to support frontline police.
In May 2014, the NSW Government announced a financial contribution towards the rollout and assisted in an amendment to legislation allowing police to record in public places and private dwellings in the lawful execution of their duties.
The cameras do not record all the time; instead, they are activated for use in operational policing activities, or when recording is deemed in the public interest.
The vision will be used for evidence gathering to support prosecutions, but it will also allow police to analyse interactions, improve practices and support officer training and education.
Mid North Coast Local Area Commander, Superintendent Paul Fehon, said he is pleased Kempsey has been chosen as the first regional area to receive the cameras.
“Body Worn Video will play an important part in our ongoing commitment to officer and community safety in the Kempsey area,” Supt Fehon said.
“Local and international trials of the technology, along with the experience of our Sydney colleagues already wearing the cameras, show BWV can have tremendous benefits.
“These include a lower incidence and escalation of violence; reduced officer injuries; reduced time spent on paperwork and increased time on patrol; enhanced brief of evidence preparation; and improved behaviour of both police and the public.
“BWV will provide a fully accountable record of interactions between police and the community, which in turn will hold everyone to account for their actions, including police,” Supt Fehon said.
The cameras record high-definition wide-view vision (150 degree field of vision capture) and high quality audio; it is also capable of taking still photographs, record audio only and record in low-light situations.
In addition, the cameras can also live-stream footage to remote police command positions, which could prove useful in some operational situations.
Importantly, the BWV footage is encrypted and safely stored on the camera, and once downloaded onto the secure police database; all footage on the camera is erased.
All BWV recordings will be securely stored, managed, and processed in line with relevant legislation, policy and procedures. The disposal of BWV records will be in accordance with State Records Act disposal authorities relevant to the crime or incident recorded.
BWV Project Sponsor, Acting Assistant Commissioner Kyle Stewart, said BWV cameras will be worn on the uniform in an overt manner, and where practical, officers will advise they are recording.
“While the cameras will be constantly viewing the officer’s point-of-view, the officer must initiate recording to actually capture footage in the memory of the camera.
“There will be a 30-second back capture of vision only, which can allow for the visual recording of an important piece of evidence.
“Officers have received training on the appropriate use of BWV, which includes the expected ethical and professional standards of the NSW Police Force,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Stewart said.
Further information about BWV, including standard operating procedures are available to the community at the NSW Police Force website: www.police.nsw.gov.au.