WE SAY: The emergency of body cameras for shire workers and police is not surprising and should be beneficial in adding to accuracy of prosecutions

CAMERAS are everywhere these days – we have them in our phones, aisles of supermarkets and along the main street of Albury.

Chest attachment: Body cameras have long been worn by American police departments and are now coming to Australian law enforcement bodies.

Chest attachment: Body cameras have long been worn by American police departments and are now coming to Australian law enforcement bodies.

The next step in the spread of cameras appears to be their adoption on the bodies of law enforcement personnel.

Victorian and NSW police have committed to rolling out the cameras to their officers over the next two years.

More surprisingly Alpine Shire is set to utilise the devices with their rangers who deal with issues such as dangerous dogs or car parking regulations.

The council has issued a draft policy and is expected to adopt the cameras when it meets in May.

Covering centres such as Bright, Myrtleford and Mount Beauty you could be forgiven for thinking you would not need such monitoring in a seemingly tranquil part of the North East.

But mayor Ron Janas argues the cameras offer another tool for rangers who can be confronted by aggressive behaviour.

“It’s all about workplace safety, the technology is there so why not use it?” Cr Janas told The Border Mail.

The draft policy states officers “must verbally advise any persons in the vicinity that recording is being undertaken” before switching the camera on or as soon as possible after activation.

If the data is not subject to a prosecution, it is to be deleted within 30 days.

There are also limits on those who can access the recordings and a commitment not to use it to monitor staff performances.

Third parties, such as police, can access the data if they have a “legitimate reason”.

Alpine is following a minority of other councils across Australia that have introduced body cameras – they include Boroondara in Melbourne and Lismore in far northern NSW.

Other North East and Border councils are cautious about the devices, with Albury mayor Kevin Mack saying they had been considered before complications had ruled them out. 

The body cameras’ advantages are seen to be their deterrence role and the clarity they will add to prosecutions. 

An unfiltered video of an incident makes a magistrate’s job a lot easier than having to sort competing versions put by the prosecution and defence.

As the modern day cliche says ‘if a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million words’.