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Friday, May 7, 2021
BAL Lawyers
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Should police wear body cameras on private property? ACT Government wants your views

The ACT Government is considering allowing ACT police to wear body cameras in more situations, with the community invited to have their say on these proposed legislative changes. 

Police officers use body-worn cameras in public and in some private spaces with consent; they also automatically start recording when an officer draws a taser or firearm, ACT Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury said.

Under the proposed changes, police would be able to use body cameras on private property in the ACT without consent, as long as the use of the camera was overt and in the course of policing duties.

“Expanding the use of body-worn cameras will help to provide an accurate record of events, which can improve the quality of evidence presented in court, and ultimately lead to better justice outcomes for victims of crime,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“It can also assist in reviewing incidents involving use of force by police. The proposed expansion would ensure that the benefits of body-worn cameras can be extended to a wider range of situations where police interact with members of the community.

“If any legislative change is made, there will be clear guidance around when and how police should use body-worn cameras.”

Mr Rattenbury encouraged the community to consider and comment on the proposed change.

“It is important that we hear what the community and other stakeholders feel about expanding the use of body-worn cameras,” he said.

A recent YourSay Community Panel process, which attracted 1,617 responses, found that 63% of respondents supported police use of body-worn cameras in private premises without the consent of the lawful occupier.

Respondents also raised the issues of accountability, privacy, and access to footage.

The proposed changes are currently open to public feedback until COB Friday 14 May. An information paper can be accessed here.

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