Body Cameras

The purpose of a body cameras is to provide an objective account of an wearers interactions with the public. The camera captures audio and video evidence that can be used to investigate complaints, as well as to exonerate the wearers accused of misconduct. The footage can also be used to provide training and feedback.

A body camera is a wearable device which is used to record photographic, audio and video events. During incidents involving the person wearing the device, Point of View (POV) recording can take place. Should a crime take place, the body worn video footage can be used as evidence should it be required.

hytera body camera

Who Uses Body Worn Cameras?

hytera body camera solution

Originally, body cameras were just known as a police body camera as they were typically only utilised by a police officer. Now they are more commonly used by firefighters, paramedics, healthcare workers, military, security personnel, security guards, shop staff, outdoor adventurers and sports enthusiasts.

Body Camera Alternative Names

There are many names that body cameras go by, so before we continue let's detail them:

  • Body Cameras
  • Body Worn Cameras
  • Body Worn Video
  • Bodycams
  • Wearable Cameras
  • BWC
body camera names

Body Camera Devices

Body cameras have come a long way since the inception of the devices and as with most technology devices, they have become smaller, lighter, and have a lot more features than those which were experimented with in the 1990s.

Body cameras come in many formats and can be worn as a helmet cameras on a headband, or helmet, while some can be attached to glasses or are integrated within glasses. The most common form of body camera are those mounted on the chest or shoulder.

Two-way radio manufacturers such as Motorola Solutions and Hytera offer an excellent range of body cameras. Motorola Solutions even have a wearable body camera that is a customisable name tag. Hytera body cameras give a comprehensive variation of different choices.

Two Way Radio Industry and Wearable Cameras

In the two way radio industry, the main two manufacturers, Motorola Solutions and Hytera have identified body cameras as a natural addition to their portfolio. Two way radios have been used for security communications for as long as they have been around.

With the advance of digital two way radios; some of which can include GPS, can now connect to a dispatch console on a PC. This allows the dispatch operator to track the radios, record the voice calls and initiate emergency calls, to name just a few of the features.

Two way radio manufacturers have taken this technology and adapted it to emergency services and now the general public and corporate entities.

motorola vt100 body camera

Motorola Body Worn Cameras

Motorola vb400

Motorola Solutions body worn video cameras are built to help public safety and commercial organisations protect people. Their products consist of:

  • VT100 is a customisable name tag and remote alarm activation for built for customer-facing teams.
  • VB400 is a high performance rugged body camera designed to record full shifts.
  • VideoManager is management software which features secure sharing to deliver camera, user and video evidence management.

Hytera Body Worn Cameras

Hytera body worn cameras are designed to capture, store, and upload evidence such as pictures, videos, and audios in the field.

Their body cameras are increasingly sophisticated. Features now supported include: full HD video quality, infrared, night vision, integration with wearable equipment and even the ability to stream live footage to other devices.

Their products consist of:

  • A VM750D which is both a body camera and PoC radio in one.
  • A VM690 Pro which features a rotatable lens and micro gimbal
  • A VM580D which is an ultra-thin 4G body camera
  • A VM780 which is a LTE enabled body camera designed for law enforcement
hytera vm580d back

Commercial Body Camera Features

A commercial body camera, as provided by Motorola and Hytera are durable, have a compact design, are lightweight, have good video resolution, and long battery life.

In both instances they capture footage of an incident on the body cams, the file is sent to their secure cloud storage. The footage filmed can be reviewed by authorised personnel. The HD video footage and audio recording can be cut into video clips and passed to police officers. Police offiers can review footage for evidence gathering and used as compelling evidence in a case against the accused.

The great thing about a modern body cam is that it doesn't matter what time of day or night it is as night vision is a feature of their body cams.

Professional body cameras offer the following features:

  • IP67 water resistance (can be submerged in water at a maximum depth of 1 metre for 30 minutes)
  • IP67 Dust proof
  • Long life batteries for long continual recording
  • Rapid charging
  • SD Card Memory slots, usually starting from 16GB up to 128 GB.
  • Pre/post record buffer, (capture events up to 30 seconds before recording and 30 seconds after recording.)
  • WiFi-enabled
  • GPS enabled
  • Bluetooth enabled
  • Windows XP/7/8/10 compatible
  • Live streaming

How Much Storage Capacity is Provided?

Video recording, particlularly HD video can use a lot of memory. This is why you need a good amount of storage available, particularly if you work long shifts. Hytera for example offer 64GB to 51GB.

How Many Hours Recording per GB of Storage

One minute of video is approximately:

  • 60 MB with 720p at 30 fps
  • 130 MB with 1080p at 30 fps
  • 175 MB with 1080p at 60fps

Example: 64GB memory card at 60fps with 1080p resolution can produce approximately

  • 5.7 minutes per GB
  • 64 GB equals 364.8 minutes or 6 hours
  • 128 GB equals 729.6 minutes or 12 hours

Body Camera Systems Integration

If you are new to the world of body cameras, then you may associate them in the same way with dash-cameras used in cars. Car dash cams are stand-alone camera devices that utilises an SD memory card to record driving events. To view an incident you either connect a USB cable to the camera and your pc and view the footage. Or you take the SD card out and insert it into your pc.

Body cameras from two way radio manufacturers provide a much more integrative approach by allowing integration with existing CCTV systems. 

Motorola VideoManager

An example is the Motorola Solutions VideoManager which can securely connect with leading Open Network Video Interface Forum (ONVIF) compliant Video Management Systems. This enhances situational awareness by ensuring front-line teams are connected and better protected in critical situations.

motorola video manager

Hytera Hytalk Sight

hytera hytalk sight

The body camera can upload the video in real-time to the Hytera HyTalk Sight (HHS) for better situational awareness.  You can pull the audio and videos from the body camera to the HHS command and dispatch system. 

Body Cameras and GDPR

Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a person or organisation that collects or processes the personal data of individuals other than in a purely personal capacity is a ‘controller', which comes with certain responsibilities

To comply with GDPR, the processing of personal data must be lawful and fair. On a legal basis, this means that you must have the appropriate justification for using a body camera.

Unlike CCTV systems, a body camera is a mobile device and has a high chance of capturing the personal data of passers-by.

In addition, body cameras have microphones and some can incorporate facial recognition technology so the data protection concerns increase further. Add to that the fact that the devices store information on either a removable SD memory card or the device itself which potentially can be lost or stolen.

Body Camera GDPR Guidelines

  • The footage is processed lawfully and fairly and transparently.
  • The footage is recorded for specified and legitimate purposes.
  • Footage must be stored securely
  • Footage should only be retained for the minimum amount of time required
  • Irrelevant Footage must be deleted
  • You must respond appropriately to data subject requests 

Body Camera GDPR Usage Locations

The following are areas in which body-worn cameras can be used for filming and collecting evidence, provided you comply with the above GDPR guidelines.

  • Any public place where members of the public are free to go.
  • Any semi-public private property such as airports, train stations, museums
  • In any area where you can safely assume CCTV is in use.
  • In private places like the home, explicit permission must be granted before recording can lawfully commence.

Body Cameras from Two Way Radio Manufacturers Help with GDPR

While we are sure there are numerous body-worn camera manufacturers out there that can help with GDPR, our focus is on the two-way radio manufacturers.

Here are some ways that their products can help you keep GPDR compliant:

  • 256-Bit Encrypted devices
  • Pin protected devices
  • Role-based permissions restricted video access that is stored in video management software
  • Password protected footage
  • Some cameras have a front-facing screen so you can see what is being recorded

Draft Updated Surveillance Camera Code Of Practice

The following are the latest principals to the draft updated surveillance camera code of practice which will help you establish best working practices.

What is Principal 1?

Use of a surveillance camera (body camera) system must always be for a specified purpose which is in pursuit of a legitimate aim and necessary to meet an identified pressing need.

What is Principal 2?

The user of a surveillance camera (body camera) system must take into account its effect on individuals and their privacy, with regular reviews to ensure its use remains justified.

What is Principal 3?

There must be as much transparency in the use of a surveillance camera (body cameras) system as possible, including a published contact point for access to information and complaints.

What is Principal 4?

There must be clear responsibility and accountability for all surveillance camera (body camera) system activities including images and information collected, held and used.

What is Principal 5?

Clear rules, policies and procedures must be in place before a surveillance camera (body camera) system is used, and these must be communicated to all who need to comply with them.

What is Principal 6?

No more images and information should be stored than that which is strictly required for the stated purpose of a surveillance camera (body cameras) system, and such images and information should be deleted once their purposes have been discharged.

What is Principal 7?

Access to retained images and information should be restricted and there must be clearly defined rules on who can gain access and for what purpose such access is granted; the disclosure of images and information should only take place when it is necessary for such a purpose or for law enforcement purposes.

What is Principal 8?

Surveillance camera (body cameras) system operators should consider any approved operational, technical and competency standards relevant to a system and its purpose and work to meet and maintain those standards.

What is Principal 9?

Surveillance camera (body camera) system images and information should be subject to appropriate security measures to safeguard against unauthorised access and use.

What is Principal 10?

There should be effective review and audit mechanisms to ensure legal requirements, policies and standards are complied with in practice, and regular reports should be published.

What is Principal 11?

When the use of a surveillance camera (body camera) system is in pursuit of a legitimate aim, and there is a pressing need for its use, it should then be used in the most effective way to support public safety and law enforcement with the aim of processing images and information of evidential value.

What is Principal 12?

Any information used to support a surveillance camera (body camera) system which compares against a reference database for matching purposes should be accurate and kept up to date.

The above are the principals from the Updated Draft Surveillance Camera Code of Practice

Our Thoughts

There are many body cameras in the wider marketplace, mainly aimed at individual users. (simply search on Amazon). Within the two way radio industry, a body camera is typically designed for teams/groups of users. A body camera can integrate with the manufacturer's enhanced monitoring systems, which in turn can integrate with existing customer CCTV systems.

When combining body worn cameras with two way radio systems the whole service functionality becomes a truly exceptional value-added service proposition for the industries that now rely on such technology.

Providing GDPR compliance is adhered to, then the whole ecosystem can only benefit the customer.

Hytera Body Cameras Brochure

Hytera Body Cameras Product Brochure