Epping cops in body camera trial

Epping police will be among the first in the state to wear body cameras, as part of a trial of the cutting edge technology.

Two hundred police stationed at Epping and Ballarat will begin wearing the cameras from April in the first stage of a multi-million dollar plan to roll out 11,000 cameras across the state by 2020.

The move will bring Victoria into line with Queensland and New South Wales where the cameras are already used. Police Minister Lisa Neville said body cameras will support better and more efficient justice outcomes and aim to reduce trauma for victims of family violence.

The cameras were recommended by the Royal Commission into Family Violence as a way of enabling police to collect evidence from victims to use in court.

The cameras will enable officers to capture real-time video evidence of the scene of an incident. In August last year, the state government introduced new laws to ensure police officers can legally use body cameras in their daily duties.

Ms Neville said the roll-out would equip Victoria Police with some of the most advanced technology in the country.

“Body worn cameras will be a critical tool to respond to family violence issues and other crimes in our community,” she said.

“Information is the lifeblood of modern policing, and this technology will build on our huge investments in frontline policing and help keep Victorians safe.”

Whittlesea Inspector Andrew Falconer said local police jumped at the chance to be involved in the trial. “It is a change to our business we knew would be coming and we were keen to make sure the technology meets the needs of our members,” he said.

“My personal experience with CCTV is that it is a really effective way to show people’s behaviour.

“We see this as a great way of giving credibility to our evidence and enhancing our accountability.”