Smile, you’re on camera

Smile, you’re on camera

East Gippsland police were this week equipped with body worn cameras as the roll out to regional areas across the state continues.

Police in Bairnsdale, Bendoc, Buchan, Bruthen, Cann River, Lakes Entrance, Mallacoota, Omeo, Orbost and Swifts Creek have been supplied with the cameras.

More than 11,000 cameras will be deployed by 2020.

A body worn camera is attached to a police officer’s uniform and is used to record video and audio footage.

Bruthen police officer, Leading Senior Constable, Murray Porter, who is the officer in charge at the one-man police station, was among a group of East Gippsland police to receive training in how to operate the camera device.

He says the body worn cameras will be of invaluable assistance in recording information and providing a back-up to police work.

“They will help corroborate things we may witness,” he said.

“They’re (body cameras) essentially seeing what we see and recording it at the same time.

“From a evidentiary point of view, they’re a valuable tool.”

Snr Constable Porter says the camera won’t be switched on all the time, but in certain circumstances when it’s needed.

“It’s as simple as pushing a button,” he said.

Video from the cameras could be used, for example, in forming part of a brief of evidence for court cases where it’s appropriate.

Assistant Commissioner, Russell Barrett, said the body worn cameras will provide a boost to police capabilities in the East Gippsland area.

The introduction of body worn cameras is expected to deliver improved community safety, enhanced evidence gathering, increased police safety and accountability.

Assistant Commissioner Barrett said an initial pilot conducted by police in April 2018 showed that camera usage policies, infrastructure and training for police had worked well and police were comfortable using the technology “within their first one or two shifts”.

“Given the pleasing results of their function along with the overwhelmingly positive feedback from the community, we rolling out the cameras to more officers.”

Police officers will be expected to undertake regular training, which includes the use and functions of the body worn camera.

The cameras will be worn by police on general duties as well as East Gippsland Highway Patrol officers.

PICTURED: Leading Senior Constable, Murray Porter, of Bruthen Police, hit the streets this week to test out his new body camera, which records video and audio footage that he says will corroborate information police gather.