9 Jun 2012

Police to trial video cameras on uniforms

8:27 am on 9 June 2012

Police officers in Victoria, Australia, could soon be wearing video cameras on their uniforms under a three-month trial.

Police are considering testing the equipment on officers who work in Melbourne's southern region, in places like Dandenong, Cranbourne and the Mornington Peninsula.

The ABC reports video recorders are already used by officers in parts of Britain and the United States.

State Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay has expressed some reservations but is willing to give them a try.

"Some of our members are importing their own cameras from the UK, pinning them on their lapel and using them," he told Fairfax radio.

The Police Association is worried the recordings could make people reluctant to give officers information.

"The public (may) become reluctant to have conversations with police officers at all,'' said assistant secretary Bruce McKenzie.

But the Australian Council for Civil Liberties says the cameras would do a lot to improve the relationship between officers and the community.

President Terry O'Gorman believes the cameras do have merit.

"Not only is it a protection for citizens against police misbehaviour, it is protection for police against false allegations being made against them," he said.

The ABC reports Mr O'Gorman is not surprised that police are resisting the idea.

"Unfortunately police unions around the country are neanderthal and backward in their approach to anything that might improve interactions between the police and the public," he said.