Police forces from LA and London to Moscow and Sydney are accelerating the use of body-worn cameras with over one million in use by 2021, says a new Beecham Research report published recently. The report also points to new applications of body-worn cameras including use by prison officers, border control staff, paramedics and airport security personnel.
The main motivations for adopting body-worn cameras in policing are to provide accountability, a reliable source of evidence, protection for police officers from false accusations and to increase trust between police and the public. North America remains the leading region in terms of units deployed, while the UK heads up Western Europe. Elsewhere in Europe there are also other deployments gaining ground quickly. The Beecham Research report also predicts strong growth in Eastern Europe and CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) region.
“This is an event-push technology driven by a range of political, cultural, social and regulatory factors,” says Saverio Romeo, principal analyst from Beecham Research and one of the authors of the report. “The growth in the US is born out of particular events, while in the UK the use of body-worn cameras reflects an increasing acceptance of surveillance technologies as tools for public safety. In Russia, it is also about fighting corruption.”
The Beecham Research report highlights several key challenges for the adoption of body worn cameras in police forces, from privacy and ethical concerns, and legislation to security and cost. A complete solution involves cameras, storage and management software. “Storing data generated by body-worn cameras is much more expensive than the cameras themselves and many organisations are turning to cloud-based solutions such as Microsoft Azure, Skyscape and Amazon Web Services,” says Romeo. Body-worn camera 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.
The adoption of body-worn cameras for non-police professions is still nascent. “The experience of using body-worn cameras in police departments will benefit those applications beyond police but the growth of these applications can also be encouraged through innovation at device level along with other smart connected components, data storage solutions and analytics,” said Romeo.
More details of this report and free summary are available at www.beechamresearch.com