Cameras for frontline Police may assist in domestic violence prosecutions

Image: iStock

Justice Minister Judith Collins has raised the idea of frontline Police officers wearing body mounted cameras. The devices are currently being trialled in Britain, where it is thought they assist in prosecuting domestic violence offenders. Judith Collins was told footage of domestic violence incidents was helpful for providing immediate evidence of injuries and damage and meant offenders plead guilty earlier, cutting court costs and case preparation time. In addition, if the victim chose to withdraw their complaint, the prosecution could still be successful based on the evidence in the footage.

Filming was also thought to decrease the 'heat' of the situation as offenders knew they were being filmed. The footage could also be used to resolve Police brutality complaints. The devices are currently being used United States, France, Denmark, Germany and Sweden.

In 2013, the New Zealand Government announced a six month trial of body mounted cameras for Corrections staff in maximum and high-security areas at Auckland and Rimutaka prisons. The trial is about to begin.

The Police Association says sufficient funding would need to be allocated for a trial of the cameras on Police officers as managing the footage and protecting the integrity of the evidence to court would be time-consuming and expensive.

Justice Minister Judith Collins will also be hosting a symposium in April 2014 to identify new ways to deal with crime over the next ten years. The symposium will bring together a select group of New Zealand and international specialists and judges, researchers, victims, rehabilitated offenders, lawyers, prision rehabilitation workers and opposition MPs to discuss new ideas. Judith Collins said, "We don't want to rest on our laurels and we don't want to get bogged down in just focussing on getting to the targets we know we are going to achieve. We want to take ourselves up to another level over the next 10 years so it's a big thinking project."

Media:

Prisons safety to be boosted as on-body cameras go nationwide, Beehive, 21.10.2014

Cameras-on-cops idea floated by minister, NZ Herald, 12.02.2014

Plan for cops to wear cameras, The Dominion Post, 12.02.2014

Govt has no plans for body cameras on cops, Newstalk ZB, 12.02.2014