A Controversial Issue Of Police Body Cameras Essay

In actuality, the debate over the compulsory introduction of body cameras for police officers emerges in light of cases of police violence and corruption, on the one hand, and fast progressing technologies, on the other. However, the use of body cameras is a quite a controversial issue. In spite of obvious positive effects of the introduction of body cameras, such as the opportunity to ‘keep an eye’ on police officers and record their interaction and communication with civilians, there are numerous negative effects and threats, such as the threat to privacy of citizens, emergence of large scale surveillance, and technical issues, which overall raise the question whether body cameras are worth introducing at all.

Positive effects of the introduction of body cameras are well-known to the public, but currently more and more experts raise doubts concerning the righteousness of such a decision in light of negative effects of body cameras. Gambarcota and Difillipo reveal the fact that body cameras used by police officers have both positive and negative effects.  For example, one of benefits of body cameras is the possibility of their use as evidence in case of the investigation of actions of a police officer or offender detained by a police officer (Gambarcota & Difilippo 1).

Knickerbrocker supports proponents of the introduction of body cameras for police officers. The researcher argues that body cameras used by police officers contribute to the discipline and better behavior of not only police officers but also civilians (Knickerbrocker 5). As all stakeholders know that police officers’ body cameras are shooting what is going on, they tend to behave in the proper, legal way rather than violate existing legal norms.  For example, police officers are aware that all their actions and communications are recorded behave more responsible and do not admit improper or illegal behavioral patterns or sayings. Similarly civilians behave better because they are also aware of the use of body cameras that may be used as evidence against them, in case of the violation of any law or disobedience to police officers.

On the other hand, the use of body cameras by police officers raises the problem of the violation of the privacy right of citizens since police officers’ body cameras can shoot without obtaining any consent from the part of civilians. Instead, they just keep recording and people may be surveyed with the help of those body cameras and suffer from the violation of their privacy right (Stanley 10). In fact, civilians will have virtually no opportunity to protect their privacy in areas, where police officers have access to.

In addition, the introduction of body cameras for police officers provides the police and the state with larger opportunities to conduct surveillance over civilians. Levinson-Waldman warns against the danger of using body cameras to enhance surveillance opportunities for law enforcement agencies and the transformation of the US into a police state, where the government has an opportunity to survey anyone and almost anytime (Levinson-Waldman 8). Hence, the privacy of individuals will decrease even more, while their exposure to the surveillance will increase drastically.    

However, body cameras raise not only legal or ethical issues, but they also raise substantial technical problems. Elinson and Frosch reveal unexpected side-effects of using body cameras by police officers. In fact, the researchers (Elinson and Frosch 6) reveal the major issue that body cameras arise in sheer technical terms, namely the problem of analyzing, storing and processing information from the huge amount of cameras. In fact, the problem is the effective processing obtained from body cameras. This problem is a challenge for IT professionals, while costs of the solution of this problem may be high. Anyway, there is the obvious risk that the police will be simply overwhelmed with video records obtained from police officers’ body cameras. What is more, there is a risk of information breaches, for example, the loss of video records or access to the police database by the third parties, who may misuse those video records (Elinson and Frosch 7).  Hence, the technical aspect of the introduction of body cameras for police officers may become an unsurpassable barrier for the innovation.

Shakeer Rahman refers to the problem of other technical issues that may arise after the introduction of body cameras for police officers. Existing technologies cannot guarantee the 100% face recognition accuracy (Rahman 12). Therefore, the risk of manipulations or just the failure of body cameras’ records as admissible evidence emerges. The imperfectness of the technology of video recording, the accuracy of video recording and the further fate of video records shot by police officers raises the fundamental question whether body cameras are worth implementing at all. For example, courts may not admit video records from police officers’ body cameras as evidence in trials. Hence, body cameras will become virtually useless in legal terms.

Thus, the introduction of body cameras for police officers is a potentially good idea. However, the problem is that body cameras raise too many problems, which range from the high risk of the violation of civilian privacy right and permanent surveillance, to technical issues, such as shutdown of the system, poor information processing, insufficient information security, inaccuracy of video records and questionable prospects of using such video records in the court. Hence, the question that begs is whether body cameras are worth introducing at all or probably they are not as good as they seem to be at first glance.

The terms offer and acceptance. (2016, May 17). Retrieved from

[Accessed: May 24, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016.

[Accessed: May 24, 2022]

freeessays.club (2016) The terms offer and acceptance [Online].
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[Accessed: May 24, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: May 24, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: May 24, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: May 24, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: May 24, 2022]
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