The Metropolitan Police Service’s decision to adopt body-worn cameras across 22,000 front line police officers, further reinforces the UK’s lead in the use of body-worm cameras, outside of the US, a recent report from Beecham Research has highlighted.
“We are seeing body-worn cameras for policing gain global appeal driven by the need for accountability, a reliable source of evidence, protection for police officers from false accusations and to increase trust between police and the public,” said Saverio Romeo, principal analyst from Beecham Research and one of the authors of the report.
“The Met’s deployment will be one of the largest scale uses of body-worn cameras in the world and we expect to see over 1 million body-worn cameras in use globally by 2021,” he added.
While North America remains the leading region in terms of cameras deployed, the UK heads up Western Europe and there is also growing adoption in police forces across Eastern Europe and CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) region.
At the same time, the Beecham Research report points to new applications of body-worn cameras including use by prison officers, border control staff, private security companies, parking officers, care homes, paramedics and airport security personnel.
“The growth of use of body-worn cameras in the UK reflects an increasing acceptance of surveillance technologies as tools for public safety but the issues of privacy, ethics, legislation and cost are still barriers to wider adoption,” noted Romeo.
The Beecham Research report also highlights several technology challenges. Storing data generated by body-worn cameras is much more expensive than the cameras themselves and the images also need to be encrypted to avoid content being retrieved without authorisation, while battery longevity is essential to ensure the camera works for the full length of a shift.
“Body-worn cameras are part of the emerging concept of smart policing that looks at how the Internet of Things can help public safety,” concluded Romeo, who is part of a Beecham Research team exploring the security and public safety from an IoT point.
More details of this report and free summary are available at: http://www.beechamresearch.com/download.aspx?id=1050