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Thematic Issue: Big Technology and the Law / General

‘Every Move You Make … Every Word You Say’: Regulating Police Body Worn Cameras


Robyn Blewer and Ron Behlau

The death of Minneapolis man, George Floyd, at the hands (or, knee) of a police officer in May 2020 appears to have set a nation, indeed the world, alight with outrage at ongoing, systemic racism and brutality by police officers. Body worn camera (‘BWC’) footage from officers attending this incident provides strong evidence of the circumstances of Mr Floyd’s death. In this article, we draw on criminological research and analyses of legislation in Australia and a number of international jurisdictions, to argue there is a need for improved regulation of BWCs. Despite incurring the substantial cost of deploying this technology, governments are relinquishing control of it to law enforcement agencies who, in turn, draft policies that maximise police discretion and protection while minimising the consequences of non-compliance. For governments to realise their objectives for BWCs, we argue there is a need for greater regulation to ensure BWCs are utilised effectively.

Please access full article here or via PDF link to the left.

(2021) 44(3) UNSWLJ 1180: