Police to wear body cameras

IT is hoped a rollout of new body-worn cameras for Queensland police officers will reduce the number of complaints made against cops.

A total 2200 new cameras have been rolled out to police stations in Queensland, including Brisbane, Maryborough, Rockhampton, Mackay, Sunshine Coast, Ipswich, Toowoomba, Caboolture, Palm Island and the Gold Coast.

Before the state government rollout, police officers who wanted to wear a camera on their vests had to buy it themselves.

Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said he hoped every police officer would have their own camera eventually as part of the government rollout.

The new cameras will be assigned to frontline police officers, who will wear them on their uniform.

The camera will be turned on for the officers' whole shift, but won't start recording until they tap a switch. Once it has been tapped, the recording will begin from 30 seconds beforehand.

Constable Greg Fairbrother, who is based in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley, said he used to have his own camera but was looking forward to the new devices. He said more work was required managing his previous camera because of large file sizes.

"We get a number of complaints as police about the use of excess force so it's a good record of what actually happened instead of just our word against the person who's making the complaint's word," he said.

Mr Stewart said the 26 locations across Queensland where the devices would be sent were chosen based on the risks involved and what officers faced on a daily basis.

Areas with entertainment precincts were also prioritised.

Mr Stewart said research had shown these devices would improve community safety and the safety of police officers.

"And it's about credibility, organisational credibility," he said. "We're looking forward to being able to provide much more evidence that our officers are doing the right thing."

Police Minister Bill Byrne said the 2200 new devices added to the 500 already rolled out on the Gold Coast during a trial.

He said this was the largest number of devices rolled out to any law enforcement agency in Australia, and the fourth largest rollout in the world.

Mr Byrne said $6 million had been allocated over three years.

Topics:  editors picks police queensland

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