Wimmera police to get body-worn cameras

WIMMERA police have supported new legislation that will enable officers to wear body cameras in their daily duties.  

The state government introduced the new laws in Parliament on Tuesday last week. The devices will be rolled out to front-line police next year.

Wimmera Superintendent Paul Margetts said said from a safety point of view, body-worn cameras were welcomed.

“They will add a lot in terms of providing improved safety to all front-line police,” he said.

“This is something we have been calling for for a long time.”

Superintendent Margetts said the technology would be state-of-the-art.

“The way the project will be rolled out is great and there will be good equipment in place for storing the data from the cameras.”

Stawell Sergeant Bill Alford said the use of body-worn cameras would be an extra form of security.

“It is early days at the moment, there is a pilot program going on,” he said. “But something like this could mean officers are more protected when dealing with the public.”  

The use of body-worn camera footage today could constitute an offence if police recorded a private conversation. Sergeant Alford said the high-tech cameras could be used to defend false claims made against police conduct. 

“There are many frivolous claims against us, these cameras could be used as proof otherwise,” he said. 

Minister for Police Lisa Neville also welcomed the move, describing the cameras as a “critical tool” in responding to crime. 

“Body-worn cameras will be a critical tool to respond to family violence issues and other crimes in our community,” she said.

“This legislation ensures that police have the powers they need, as we prepare to roll this technology out across Victoria.”

Field-testing of the cameras is expected in the first half of next year.