Words: Adam Liardet, Managing Director and Founder, Audax.
It is well established that the use of body worn video (BWV) deters violence and thus enhances staff safety. With the provision of impartial, accurate evidence these devices are also used to speed up the justice process by reducing case report preparation and thus enabling time and cost savings.
Body worn video (BWV) evidence is normally downloaded at the end of a shift and, while incredibly useful for onwards evaluation, there is another aspect that is often overlooked. Considering nearly every incident is often in a fast-moving environment, simply being a few hours ‘old’ means it is of limited use in dynamic situation decision-making.
It is widely reported that emergency service staff are over stretched, sometimes single-crewed and often ‘pushed’ to breaking point. Their role is to react to and attend an emergency situation that they might suddenly find ‘unravelling’ and they too need support. Training and experience have a place, but let’s face it, having an instantaneous ‘shoulder to lean on’ when under severe pressure is not only good management, but also a legal duty.
The solution we believe (and have done for some years) is that the future of BWV revolves around secure, real-time, live streaming. Recording for later download obviously has its purpose and the continuity of the chain of evidence is vital, but this is data that can’t be acted upon immediately in a dynamic situation.
For a control room maintaining situational awareness in often dynamic, fast-moving emergency situations, is vital to enable accurate decision-making. With the use of Audax cameras and the supplied Camera Management System (CMS), we offer decision-makers the ability to track multiple deployed assets along with live simultaneous video and audio feeds. For authorised personnel, it brings the remote action into the control room in high definition.
Information must be made known, made accessible, shared or freely available to stakeholders yet data often sits on systems in isolation. BWV software must have the ability to sync or share data without resorting to costly supplier-based intervention. We have worked extensively with the likes of Genetec* and Flir Teledyne to provide the ability of connecting our CMS to established CCTV VMS systems in control rooms. We provide, free of any annual licences, a CMS software that shares and makes accessible information to ensure that BWV recordings aren’t just stored, they are acted upon immediately.
The Audax BWV CMS software shows information that isn’t always available on a CCTV VMS too, for example: control software with mapping showing location of assets in real-time via Google Maps; proactive ‘live’ risk marking/warning with geofencing and panic button alerts; with our CMS software a control room can remotely command camera recording – the camera’s record function (and live stream of video and audio) can be instigated (turned on) by the control room CMS software; with clustered talkback (PTT) you can communicate between cameras in a group or with a control room; and you have the ability to remotely ‘stun’ a lost camera device – the camera can be sent a command by the control room CMS software that can ‘wipe’ the firmware and memory.
BWV product interoperability
Interoperability doesn’t just cover the sharing of data; it also covers the interoperability of the BWV camera with the numerous variants of users’ job roles and tasks.
Not every user finds a chest worn camera the most suitable solution. Since 2005 Audax® has been supplying fire and rescue personnel, mounted officers (motorbikes, cycles and horses) and armed response officers with head-mounted cameras. This product is often the camera of choice for these specialists over the alternative chest-mounted cameras, due to the unobstructed view during everyday use.
The New Audax mini camera, manufactured with these specialists in mind, offers functionality not found in others. Weighing a mere 38g and including HD video with selectable IR for night-time use, it can be attached via our unique specialised tilt mount to a helmet or cap and connected to Audax’s award winning cameras for both local record and live streaming.
The docking station solution also is a critical and integral part of a modern BWV system, the importance of which is often overlooked. Assigning a camera to an officer / automation of user settings at the start of a shift and having the correct metadata on each camera is vital, as it forms the evidential chain. There also has to be a system, which allows a device to be allocated/booked out to a user on removal from the docking station and deallocated/booked in when returned. Getting each BWC ‘set up’ before the start of each shift / patrol is time consuming and labour intensive. The solution to this issue is, integrated into each Audax docking station, an automated QR code system for booking in and out of cameras. It is a system that assigns a camera to a particular officer and synchronises with the DEMS / CMS.
Preservation of the evidence chain
Ensuring the preservation of the evidence chain can only be efficiently done via a docking station, with a simple and secure method of transferring data to a storage facility on a local or network drive that takes into consideration that most customers operate a secure network. The Audax range of British designed and British manufactured docking stations provide a simple, agile solution for those customers faced with poor or unreliable data transfer upload speeds. These latest products enable users to dock multiple devices simultaneously, sync evidence automatically as well as analyse, tag, store and organise evidence. Audax now provides all software products pre-installed within the docking station and 120GB internal SSD, offering a secure, out of the box solution. The system is fully scalable and can cater for smaller standalone sites through to enterprise cloud requirements.