The merits and risks of body-worn camera footage in domestic and family violence incidents and legal proceedings: a study of police perceptions and experiences

Zarina Vakhitova, Mary Iliadis, Bridget Harris, Danielle Tyson, Asher Flynn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There has been significant investment by police agencies in the use of body-worn cameras (BWCs). Preliminary evidence suggests that when used in the context of domestic and family violence, BWC footage may strengthen evidential cases and prosecutions. There is, however, a paucity of research examining the merits of and risks posed by the use of BWC footage in DFV incidents and legal proceedings. Notably absent in much of the literature are the views and experiences of police officers who, as initial owners of BWC footage, are likely to affect how it is produced and interpreted. This paper presents findings from the first Australian study to examine how police officers, as users and operators of BWC technology, perceive the use of BWC footage in DFV-related civil and criminal legal proceedings in two Australian state jurisdictions: Western Australia and Queensland. While broadly supportive of BWC technology, police respondents, especially those from specialised DFV units, identified various benefits and limitations to using BWC footage in the context of DFV, including that BWCs have the potential to capture DFV upon police call-outs, but can be limiting insofar as they do not show ongoing patterns of violence. Our findings highlight the importance of exercising domain-specific, rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to understanding the benefits and limitations of BWC technology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-186
Number of pages17
JournalPolicing and Society
Volume33
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Keywords

  • police body-worn cameras
  • domestic and family violence
  • legal processes
  • evidence

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