Police 'will start wearing cameras'

Authorities order 4,500 bodycams for use in “sensitive areas” following successful year-long pilot scheme

21 August 2014

POLICE officers could soon routinely wear mini-cameras in “sensitive areas” of France following a year-long pilot scheme.

Le Figaro reports that 4,500 cameras will be distributed over the next five years. Priority will be given to police operating in so-called “critical security areas”.

The 235g cameras, which are worn on the body, have a six-hour battery life and will be used to record footage of identity checks in the street.

The cameras were given the green light after a year-long pilot proved successful, with police unions reporting that people behaved differently when approached by police officers if they believed they were being filmed.

Commissioner Edith Mining, of the National Police Directorate told Le Figaro: “People understand the value of this equipment. Those who may have otherwise become carried away quickly toned down when they saw the cameras.”

And Richard Mousset, general secretary of the SDPM union, told France 24. “Very often suspects who have been arrested make complaints of police abuse or racism and these are nearly always followed-up with some kind of enquiry.

“With filmed evidence, these complaints are obviously far fewer. The police can do their jobs with confidence.”

But some police officers have questioned the high price of the cameras, which cost €1,551 per unit, of €754 if part of a batch of 1,000.

“More efficient products are on the market,” Patrice Ribeiro general secretary of Synergie officers, said. He also reported that some officers, had already equipped themselves with readily available GoPro cameras. "These are high-performance instruments," he added.

Meanwhile, others have questioned whether officers would be able to record video while in private properties permission.

Le Figaro reports that pilot-scheme recordings have led to the prosecution of six people for violence against police officers.

Photo: Channone Arif

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