​Queensland Police gears up frontline officers with 2,200 body-worn cameras

Frontline officers of 26 Queensland police stations will be getting body-worn cameras to use for evidence gathering.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

The Queensland Police Service has announced that the state-wide rollout of 2,200 Axon body-worn cameras (BWCs) for frontline police officers has begun.

According to Police Minister Bill Byrne, the cameras will be rolled out to frontline officers of 26 police stations located across south-east Queensland, central Queensland, and north Queensland.

He added that specialist teams including tactical crime units, rapid action and patrol groups, the Railway Squad, Dog Squad, and the Road Policing Command, will also have access to the BWCs.

The distribution of the cameras will be in addition to the existing 500 cameras that were deployed on the Gold Coast and in the Road Policing Command.

More than AU$6 million has been allocated over three years to provide BWCs to frontline police, Queensland Police said, claiming it will be the largest number of devices rolled out to any law-enforcement agency in Australia, and the fourth-largest rollout globally.

Police Commissioner Ian Stewart believes equipping frontline police officers with BWCs will greatly assist in evidence gathering in incidents such as domestic violence.

He further pointed out that the BWCs have been designed to help save time for police officers, indicating the BWCs provided time saving of a minimum of 10 minutes per officer per shift during the initial trials.

"Through use of the evidence management system, officers were able to add metadata to their recordings in the field, reducing the amount of time officers had to spend manually managing their data at the end of a shift," he said.

"This has been a long-running project for the QPS and a great deal of work has gone into ensuring we can take advantage of this technology.

"Not only did we need to choose the right cameras, but we also needed to ensure we had the capacity to store large amounts of data."

According to Stewart, the data collected from the BWCs will be compiled into a digital evidence and storage repository along with other sources of information such as digital voice records, digital cameras, and closed-circuit television cameras.

"Extra training will be provided to officers to ensure they are able to make the best use of BWCs and the new storage system, he said.

The rollout is expected to be completed by November 2016.

In June, a Queensland police officer was charged for alleged unauthorised access and disclosure of confidential information accessed via the Queensland Police Service Qprime [Queensland Police Records and Information Management Exchange] database system.

It was the second incident in less than a month where a Queensland police officer was caught for allegedly accessing and releasing confidential data.

However, under the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Act 2015that was passed by the Australian government last March and came into effect in October, law-enforcement agencies such as the Queensland Police are able to access customers' call records, location information, IP addresses, billing information, and other data stored for two years by telcos, without a warrant.

In a recent report by the Queensland CCC, it revealed the Queensland Police made up 67 percent of the around 400 allegations of information misuse in the state during 2014-15, and 65 percent to March in this financial year.

"In this financial year alone, 483 such allegations have been received and ... this type of allegation is not only increasing in number but is also an increasing percentage of all allegations of corrupt conduct received by the CCC (7% in 2014-15 to 11.5% in 2016)," the report said.

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