In 1829, Sir Robert Peel established the London Metropolitan Police Force. While the advent of this police force is nearly two centuries old, Sir Robert Peel’s nine (9) policing principles still apply to law enforcement today. These set of progressive principles which were designed to foster an environment of public trust amongst the community is the primary reason why Sr. Robert Peel is considered the ‘Father of Modern Policing.’
One of those principles states:
“Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.”
Today and with the ever-changing view of world politics and current events, public trust is paramount for the success of the policing profession as it was in 1829.
As technology grows at an alarming rate, law enforcement must be on the forefront with incorporating that technology to not only assist us with our responsibilities but gain the public’s trust.
The introduction of body worn cameras began in 2005 in the United Kingdom. While the technology was new at the time, it slowly grew, and the United States incorporated its first body worn camera (BWC) in 2014. Since then, the BWC program has been highly successful and has become a common tool amongst police officers.
By it’s very use, the public feels law enforcement is making strides in becoming more accountable for their actions.
Since 2014, new technologies have arisen within the BWC program that have made these cameras even more useful than before. Axon Technologies, the world leader in the BWC program have made strides in their cameras which now allow police agencies to ‘remote’ into a police officer’s camera and view it live. While this is new technology and must be approached with caution, it’s my opinion the public will want to be involved in the live viewing of the officers who represent them in the community.
This idea could create serious legal challenges for law enforcement and only time will tell to it’s success.
Another technology that Axon Technologies as created in for the BWC to detect gunshots within the immediate area. If a gunshot is detected on a BWC, it would automatically turn on and begin recording. If needed, a ‘geofence’ could be established, allowing other BWCs in the immediate area to turn on as well and begin recording. This would be extremely beneficial to not only potentially capturing the suspect fleeing the area, but in the tragic event an officer is ambushed and is unable to turn on their BWC, the BWC will turn on automatically.
I strongly believe the BWC program will continue to grow in popularity amongst the public and will become a mandatory tool for all law enforcement.