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Increasing transparency and facilitating training with body worn solutions

June 17, 2022  By Kevin Taylor

Photo credit: Axis Communications, Inc.

Our cities and towns are becoming busy places as they grow to accommodate new citizens. Canada aims to welcome 431,645 new permanent residents in 2022, 447,055 in 2023 and 451,000 in 2024.1

The rapid urbanization of our communities means that local law enforcement departments are having to look at things with a new lens, doing their jobs with a different perspective to meet today’s complex challenges.

Officers have several responsibilities in their day-today role – they must uphold the law, preserve the peace, prevent crime and assist victims. Communities are shifting and law enforcement find themselves having to change their strategies. They are having to re-envision and reimagine their approach to the various circumstances they face. And they are required now, more than ever, to be transparent about how they protect and preserve life to enhance public trust. Take, for instance, patrol officers: we see more of them documenting their interactions while on the beat. Some police departments are equipping their officers with body worn cameras to increase transparency and to help quickly resolve civilian complaints and mental or emotional crisis involving erratic, dangerous or threatening behaviours. Having the ability to capture forensic quality video at the scene is an asset when pursuing investigations.

When departments are looking to supplement their operations with body worn cameras, they require something that is rugged and lightweight. The equipment also needs to be easy to use and it must deliver high quality images and audio, even in the most challenging situations. Responding to cases involving persons of crisis is one of the toughest scenarios on the job, when the outcome needs to be providing a safe resolution. Body worn solutions can document events and capture valuable evidence. As for deterring bad behaviour, they may do that and positively influence the actions of both the public and camera wearers.

How body worn supports wearers and the public

Live footage from body worn cameras can make all the difference when officers and departments want to get a detailed understanding of any situation or incident. They record video from the angle of the camera wearer and all permitted audio from the incident; anyone analyzing the video gets a first-person point of view. Also, the device can be used for hands-on training, by offering an extra layer of personal protection, ensuring high standards of professionalism, and providing video of processes and situations from an officer’s point of view, that stands up in court. The recordings are helpful for training of new officers on appropriate responses to real-life situations. Body worn solutions support wearers and the public by providing safety and security in the following ways:

  1. Deter bad behaviour

Body worn cameras tend to affect the behaviour of both camera wearers and the public. The awareness of being recorded seems to make people feel there’s a kind of “digital witness” that is present to their actions. This works towards reducing the number of incidents and complaints. It creates a sense of overall understanding and safety between wearers and the public. Those wearing the camera approach their jobs with more confidence and the public feels reassured, so both are less likely to take actions they may later regret.

  1. Gather evidence

Body worn cameras document actions and capture evidence. They record incidents as they appeared to the camera wearer, and as they sounded to all involved. They deliver recordings with sharp audio and video that officers can use in internal investigations and in court to help set the record straight, to separate legitimate complaints from false accusations. They also help with incident report verification by providing an accurate reflection of the sequence of events. Should an officer’s written report deviate from the captured video evidence taken at the scene, it can lead to doubts, circumstantial evidence and even to cases being thrown out.

Some detectives on the police force are using body worn cameras when interviewing witnesses at the scene. It helps the officer assist victims of crime because investigators can use the cameras to collect witness statements while the details of the incident are still fresh in their minds. Simultaneously, the investigators can use the cameras to build a forensic record of the various parts of the scene. The recording and documentation provided by body worn solutions provides a record of all kinds of events and encounters. In the end, they protect wearers, the public and organizations against unwarranted accusations, false claims, and liability.

Body worn solutions support wearers and the public by providing safety and security.

  1. Train personnel

One of the greatest benefits is that the footage captured from body worn cameras can serve as an excellent tool for teaching personnel how to respond to predicaments they’re likely to encounter. For example, you can analyze footage of an incident, or use portions of an encounter as the basis for testing how someone would respond to a similar set of circumstances before revealing the real outcome. They also help improve officer performance as you can regularly review the video to see if any mistakes were made, adjust and discuss a new approach for similar incidents going forward.

For example, officers have discovered that body worn cameras are very effective at capturing the telltale eye movement that indicates a person has been drinking alcohol.2 It’s an involuntary jerking of the eyeballs called “nystagmus”. An officer can include this in their report, but the statement becomes indisputable when you experience video proof.

End-to-end solutions

Users can plug the body worn system right into a video management system (VMS) or evidence management system (EMS), for an end-to-end solution. This allows easy management and access to video recordings, handle incidents and speedily export high-definition evidence. It’s also a cost-effective choice with low, one-time license fees. Plus, if you want to integrate your body worn surveillance system with an existing security solution, a camera station is ideal.

Officers can also store video in the cloud or onsite. Something like a cloud-based EMS is made for handling digital evidence. This allows for recordings from body worn cameras to be automatically imported with incident time and location. Internal digital evidence and evidence from external sources such as public ones, not from the body worn camera, can be uploaded as well. They can be integrated with a Record Management system (RMS) or Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) system for automatic case creation and the addition of evidence from other sources. This helps departments maintain the chain-of-custody by keeping record of every change made in log files while preserving the original video files. Essentially, everything can be taken care of, so that officers can focus on their responsibilities, learn and solve cases.


  1. Notice – Supplementary Information for the 2022-2024 Immigration Levels Plan. Government of Canada. Accessed at:
  2. Securing a chronicle of corroborating evidence. Axis Communications. Accessed at:

Kevin Taylor is the Segment Development Manager, Smart Cities at Axis Communications, Inc.

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