Israel Police to be equipped with personal body cameras

Israel Police started a pilot project to instill public trust in the police by equipping officers with body cameras, after having been proven to reduce violence between civilians and police.

Roee Yanovski

 

The Israel Police started a new pilot project Wednesday whereby patrol officers and traffic officers will wear body cameras. The pilot will last between three and four months, with 150 officers throughout the country recieving the cameras.

The feedback provided by the cameras is expected to help refine police policy and make the police more efficient. The end goal is to have every patrol officer outfitted with a body camera.

Police body camera – Photo: Israel Police Spokeswoman

The project was proposed by Deputy Police Commissioner Yossi Becher based on similar projects undertaken by police forces the world over. The goal is to make every encounter with the police fair for every citizen, and to mitigate violence.

The program will also see cameras installed in homes where domestic abuse was reported.

The plan to equip police with body cameras was made several years ago, but the decision to launch the pilot program was only made in January of 2016. This is a part of the Israel Police’s flagship program to help raise the public’s level of trust in the police.

The new project is beginning following research done by police departments around the world into the tactic. The legality of body cameras was also debated, and was followed by creating legal procedures and guidelines for storing what the cameras had documented.

One of the main issues discussed were personal privacy issues, but it was decided that the police would develop a mechanism to which would prohibit the police from editing videos.

Police forces around the world have reported drastic decreases in violence between citizens and law enforcement following the institution of body cameras. The findings conclude that the camera greatly effects the way both citizens and police behave.

The camera will continuously record in 30 second increments. However, when the officer needs to use the camera, the officer will be able to turn it on until the camera is no longer needed.

The Internal Security Ministry has already allocated NIS 40 million to help fund the pilot and create the infrastructure needed.

Israel Police Commissioner Ronu Alsheikh said “we are in the era of photographs, yet the police are the only ones who don’t take pictures. Everyone photographs them, and we get every angle except the policeman’s angle. We want to see what the police officer sees, both in terms of public behavior and on terms of visual aspects.

 

View original Ynet publication at:
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4837891,00.html

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