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New study shows police body cameras may increase violence

New study shows police body cameras may increase violence
Police officers wearing body-worn cameras are more likely to face violence compared to those who aren’t, according to a new study.
Police officers wearing body-worn cameras are more likely to face violence compared to those who aren’t, according to a new study that also showed that the use of the equipment had no effect on the use of police force. 
 
According to researchers at Cambridge and RAND Europe who studied camera use on 2,122 officers in eight departments in the U.S. and the U.K., on an average, assaults against officers were 15 percent more when they were wearing cameras. This effect was more in some areas. 
 
“Using a prospective meta-analysis of multi-site, multi-national randomized controlled trials from 10 discrete tests with a total population of +2 million, and 2.2 million police officer-hours, we assess the effect of BWVs [body-worn videos] on the rates of (i) police use of force and (ii) assaults against officers,” the researchers wrote. “Averaged over 10 trials, BWVs had no effect on police use of force, but led to an increased rate of assaults against officers wearing cameras.”
 
A common reason for this increase in assaults is unclear, but the authors warn that the lack of effect of body-worn cameras should not be seen as a reason for reaching any conclusions to abandon the equipment. They point out three reasons for this.
 
“First, there are still more studies being conducted as part of this research and as results come in the synthesized results reported here may change,” the research paper read. “Second, despite the robust methods used in these studies from around the world, the data used represent a convenience sample of police forces, and experiences in other jurisdictions may vary. Third, as we acknowledge above [in the report], different jurisdictions have varying definitions of use or how assaults against officers are classified, and this may affect the comparability of results between jurisdictions.”
 
Meanwhile, another study has shown that body-worn cameras can reduce police force use when the officers’ discretion to turn the cameras on or off is minimized. Researchers of this study recommended that the cameras should be switched on and recording announced to the suspects at early stages of police-public interactions.
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