Sunday, August 16, 2009
Orwellian’ Police Cameras In Use
How lond before this is going on here in the USA?
Found at http://blog.puppetgov.com/2009/08/14/orwellian-police-cameras-in-use/
Northern Ireland News
Digital cameras - mounted on police officers’ shoulders - are being deployed across a large suburban area of Co Antrim.
In a move reminiscent of the George Orwell novel ‘1984′ with its ‘Big Brother’ camera surveillance of citizens, Newtownabbey officers are using what they claim is “a new weapon in the fight against crime”.
Officers in the borough are being armed with portable video cameras in a bid to deter people from acting outside the law.
These were initially used by other forces fixed on the side of an officer’s cap (pictured), but have since been found to be more accessible as shoulder-mounts.
Specially trained uniformed response and local Neighbourhood Policing Team officers will be using state-of-the-art shoulder-mounted cameras to target crime hot-spot areas.
They are hoping that the new equipment, which records audio and visual footage, will prove a major asset when dealing with problems such as youths causing annoyance and anti-social behaviour.
“By wearing body-worn digital recording devices, also known as head-cameras, we hope to deter people from committing crime,” PSNI Area Commander Paula Hilman explained.
“Also, these cameras essentially bring the scene of an incident into the courtroom. The courts will see and hear the incident through the eyes and ears of the officer at the scene, giving an accurate account of the actions of the accused.
“The cameras significantly improve the quality of evidence captured by police officers, which in turn helps to reduce crime and bring more offenders to justice,” she said.
The equipment comprises a small colour camera linked to a portable hard drive, and every frame of footage shot at the scene of an incident is watermarked so that it cannot be tampered with.
“The use of this type of technology will have a significant impact on how the Police Service are able to deal with crime and the fear of crime. The major factor in this type of equipment is that it provides first hand evidence, and stops people denying their involvement or the part they have played in an incident.”
The new cameras, which will be worn openly and only used by uniformed officers on patrol, are being introduced in Newtownabbey following a successful 12-month pilot scheme in Carrickfergus.
Newtownabbey already routinely deploys landrover-mounted CCTV equipment, mostly at public order incidents, and the centre of Glengormley has seen the deployment of fixed CCTV cameras that monitor flash-point and crime hot-spot areas, with local council staff monitoring the pictures.