back to article Body-worn cameras a 'Pandora's Box' says ex Vic Police chief Nixon

Gartner: The Former police commissioner for the Australian state of Victoria, Christine Nixon, says body-worn cameras are a 'Pandora's Box' that cause more problems than they fix. Body-worn cameras are being used, or trialled, by police forces in all six Australian states and are widely used or contemplated around the world. …

  1. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

    What a self-serving load of bovine excrement!

    The question "why would I trust you, you didn't have a camera on?" is at the very core of 21st century policing: why _should_ we trust the police?

    Yeah, it would be spiffy nice if we did (at least, nice for them), but since it is almost axiomatic (worldwide) that the police will close ranks around an accused cop, it seems entirely reasonable to insist that they provide the structure to justify trust, rather than simply demand special credibility based solely on their natty headgear.

    And when a cop wrings her hands and worries that the poor widdle coppers might be unjustly accused, one wonders what freakin' planet she's been living on! The rest of us have to deal with (the risk of) unjust accusations, so in actuality the appropriate response must be "welcome to the club, boys in blue!".

  2. tkioz

    Utter Bollocks.

    I have personally known police officers, many of them, and for the most part they are just like any group of people, nine out of ten of them are good people just doing their job, it's the last one who is the problem that ruins things for everyone.

    Body Cams are good for both the police and the public, it protects officers against false complaints, and it protects the public from that one dirty officer who brings the rest of them into disrepute.

    It also provides evidence for court cases, bit hard to say you didn't punch that bloke when the cops have footage of it isn't it.

    No, while Australian police are pretty good, it is my strong opinion that police should all wear cameras while on duty, and they shouldn't be able to turn them off (except for bathroom breaks).

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Easy to solve

    The cameras should be required to log when they are switched on and off, so you can check the timestamps. If the camera was turned off just before the officer left his vehicle to confront a guy illegally selling cigarettes on the street, the grand jury should view his account of the facts with suspicion. There should not be all that many reasons when the officer legitimately needs to turn it off (like they might when talking with a rape victim for instance)

    What I don't get is the police around here just got bodycams and the chief talked about the need to not keep them on all the time because they could only record an hour or so of footage. Even cheap cell phones can do better, I wonder what sort of archaic technology my tax dollars purchased?

    One thing he did bring up that will need to be addressed is privacy vs public records. If the police come to my house due to a noise complaint, and step inside for a moment, I really don't want the video to be public record - allowing thieves to see the Picasso I have hanging on my living room wall. I imagine it could be handled by keeping the camera records private unless via court order, which could be requested by anyone who is party to an encounter. So someone couldn't request those records unless they had a court case against the police or against me, regarding that specific incident and the judge agreed that the video may help prove or disprove the claim.

    1. Mark 65

      Re: Easy to solve

      Maybe they only record an hour of footage because they:

      1. Got sold a model that records in 4K

      2. Got sold a model that has storage nearer 4K(B)

  4. david 12 Silver badge

    ??intense period of state police corruption.??

    What intense period of state police corruption? What kind of corruption?

    NSW police inspector to VIC police inspector at joint operation: "We won't steal anything if you don't kill anybody"

    Killing people is certainly a bad thing, but it's not what we normally mean by the word "corruption"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ??intense period of state police corruption.??

      Some starters for 10.

      Drug squad members jailed, lending of precursor chemicals, controlled deliveries that weren.t controlled,east oakleigh grow house private raid, confidential files circulating on the street.

      Other examples of corruption also exist but i think the underbelly videos are still banned in vic.

  5. kyza

    Given the behaviour of OB in the US even with bodycams it would appear that public mistrust of the forces of law'n'order is quite well founded.

    I won't even start on police corruption here in sunny QLD as I'm certain other Aus commentards are well aware of the state's illustrious history of having a 'few bad apples'.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    it tells everyone that you went to dinner with your publisher during the biggest crisis in the state: in which over 170 died.

    it confirms the allegations of beatings by police by arrestees.

    it shows when the cuntstabulary regularly break the law.

  7. Winkypop Silver badge


    I’ve Got Blings!

    * Watched on a long-haul flight, it killed 90 minutes, ok?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If the trust isn't there to begin with

    Then there's nothing to break. Some UK examples of where this technology might have served well: plebgate, Mark Duggan, Ian Tomlinson. I could go on.

  9. m4kda

    Good idea

    I think it protects the public and the police.

    Change the specification of the lens used so that it captures a wide angle showing the actions of the police officers as well as the person being dealt with by the Police.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seeds already sowed

    The fact that so many countries around the world are calling for Police to wear body cameras should give you a sense of the trust people have towards their police force now. In recent years the Police were the servants of the people. Unfortunately now they seem to have forgotten their own oaths, bully people into consenting to searches and general invasion of privacies. The lack of trust already exists as a result, so there is nothing to sow. Camera's simply protect an individual from the police mis-leading them or quoting something completely out of Context i.e "You can't film in public" when the public has every right to. But it also protects the police officer from being wrongfully accused.

  11. LogMonkey

    Well isn't it her job to figure out how to implement them and properly overcome those issues?

    We had an incident in the US a couple of months ago where a cop shot a suspect in the back as he was fleeing and would have gotten away with it, except some dude was filming.

    Gone are the days where that guy who beat everybody up in high school becomes a cop. That needs to change from the top-down, and until it does, We (the public) have to keep pushing.

  12. Trixr

    Did this just say that BYOD was part of this trial? WHY???

  13. Gazmitch

    Ex Police Commisioner still in the dark ages of law enforcement.

    In wake of the recent shooting of an innocent Australian woman in Minneapolis - where police didnt have their cameras on for some reason. Cameras as a tool in law enforcement should be mandatory. But firstly - the type of camera and the way it is used must be standardized over the Police Service - it cant be "bring your own" or "turn it on when you feel like it" . The camera should have a way to be turned on at the start of the shift; it should have a constant clock/date function to ensure continuity; and it should not be able to be turned off till end of shift - where all camera shift footage should then be downloaded to a secure mainframe - whereby footage cannot be tampered with - but can be accessed for use as evidence in court etc. In the old days of policing - you had to spend hours at the typewriter typing "I said" - "he said" statements in records of interview - but sometimes offenders were "verballed" by police, when accounts werent as accurate as they should be. What better evidence of video footage of both Police interaction with the offender/complainant, and whatever transpires. It protects both Police and offender/complainant. Courts can then use video footage of the incident as direct evidence rather than reams of handwritten inaccurate statements. Ex Police Commisioner Nixons comments are indicative of a dinosaur "old school" copper who would rather leave things in the dark ages. I dont believe she was a very effectual Police Commissioner for Victoria - full stop. If you are going to use cameras and technology - then try to do it to best practice levels - if used correctly and honestly - then it should help gain peoples trust in the Police not as Nixon suggests the opposite.

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