WA police officers to trial body worn cameras

WA Police will begin a six month trial of body-worn cameras from February next year.

The trial will establish whether body-worn cameras will increase early guilty pleas, reduce the need for using force by officers, reduce assaults on police and reduce complaints or false reports made against police.

It will be compulsory for officers issued with cameras to use them as part of standard deployment.

The cameras will be visible and officers will learn a standard script to inform subjects they are being filmed.

There will also be police working without cameras to monitor the results of the trial.

Cameras will be issued to Central Metro (Perth) Response Teams, Perth Local Policing Teams, and units within the Traffic Enforcement Group and Regional Operations Group for specific operations in Perth.

NSW Police recently rolled out their first body-worn cameras and trials have been conducted or are planned for other Australian jurisdictions.

A police spokeswoman said people who they are being watched will modify their behaviour – often into socially-desirable responses.

The use of smartphone cameras is common and the body-worn cameras will ensure events are captured from an officer´┐Żs perspective.

The spokeswoman said that body-worn cameras are also useful for preventing and resolving public complaints against police, and for strengthening police transparency.