Should the Police be Fitted with Body Cameras? (2014), by Sean Gabb

Sean Gabb, Director of the Libertarian Alliance, speaking on Winchester Live on-Line, on Tuesday the 4th March 2014.

The background to this discussion is a proposal, somewhere in the West Country, for the Police to be fitted with body cameras.

Sean argues these points:

  • We know the Police are frequently abusive in their dealings with the public. Fitting them with body cameras would force them to behave more reasonably.
  • It is a defect of the scheme that the cameras could be turned off and on at the discretion of officers. Cameras should record every single interaction between the Police and public.
  • Any police officer who objects to omnipresent surveillance should remember the standard reply of his own chiefs to complaints from the public about mass-surveillance: “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.”

4 responses to “Should the Police be Fitted with Body Cameras? (2014), by Sean Gabb

  1. It’s really irrelevant, and would only add the already bloated police budget. The real problem is the thousands of laws they have to enforce, and the fact that police chiefs (and, increasingly, officers on the ground), are becoming more and more like the their political masters.

  2. If you have a workable plan for rolling back those 1000s of laws, please let us know what it is.
    In the meanwhile, it is a very good idea, This has already been tried out in a small area of the US and complaints against police dropped by 80% once the cameras were on the job. Some of that will be real crims realising that bogus complaints were pointless but the cameras make bluebottles behave.
    Also of great interest was the fact that police use of “force” declined by 60% under the rule of the camera. It must be that the situations were still resolved (and to a better level of satisfaction given the reduced complaints) but far more peacefully. It would seem that more than half of the police’s use of violence then is for their own reasons not out of need, Bring on the cameras.
    Let them broadcast to a secure non-police controlled location so that the plods can’t try their hand at acquiring Alfred Hitchcock’s film-editing skills.
    There must also be no areas of “poor signal” to hide under either. The scum of the state found cost no obstacle to setting up their abusive ANPR camera system to track your car, let them ensure 100% reception for cop-cam. Then we will see some real cop-shows not the carefully crafted “police-are-wonderful” crap that presently clogs the cheap TV channels.