Survey Finds U.K. Public Safety Approves of Body-Worn Cameras (9/15/14)
Monday, September 15, 2014 | Comments

A recent survey of U.K. emergency services professionals in the police and paramedic services showed strong approval of the use of body-worn video cameras. Most respondents said the technology offers tangible benefits both to users and to the public.

The survey, conducted on behalf of the U.K. Emergency Services Show 24 – 25 September, found 92 percent of police officers are in favor of body-worn cameras being used by police officers across the United Kingdom. Among paramedics, 72 percent were in favor of their colleagues nationally wearing cameras, and 92 percent were in favor of the police wearing them. Of those questioned, more than half (56 percent) of police and a quarter of paramedics (25 percent) also said they had already had personal experience in using body-worn cameras.

More than two-thirds (68 percent) of police officers agreed or strongly agreed that body-worn cameras made them feel safer while doing their jobs. More than 70 percent also said the technology gives the public greater confidence in the police. Six in 10 (61 percent) respondents thought body-worn video cameras will speed up the justice process. They were a little less convinced that wearing cameras would diffuse potentially violent situations, although 44 percent said they would, but 26 percent said they wouldn’t.

Police officers cited the independent evidence gathering provided by video as a key benefit and the potential for resolving “his word against mine” situations. They also liked the ability to record the arrest of violent offenders and disorder.

Paramedics saw benefit in video for recording violent patients or patients who refused treatment, as well as saying the cameras offered a form of protection to paramedics working on their own. They also saw the potential to relay information from the field to doctors, helping to speed up diagnosis and potentially life-saving treatment.

Eighty percent of police officers and paramedics said they don’t think the technology is an invasion of their privacy at work, while 81 percent of police and 74 percent of paramedics don’t think body-worn cameras are an invasion of the public’s privacy either.

Two-thirds of police officers surveyed didn’t think there was potential for cameras to be misused, although one-third thought they could be. However, more than half (53 percent) of paramedics were concerned about the potential misuse of cameras. Seventy percent of police and 74 percent of paramedics don’t believe wearing a camera would hinder them in their work.

The survey, conducted in June, was completed by 516 emergency services professionals who were previous attendees of The Emergency Services Show and/or readers of Emergency Services Times.

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