Home Body-Worn Cameras What Is The Purpose Of a Body-Worn Camera?

What Is The Purpose Of a Body-Worn Camera?

body worn cameras, bodycams

The purpose of a body-worn 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.

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What is a Body-Worn Camera?

In the two-way radio industry, Body-Worn Cameras (BWC), have been embraced as an addition to the two-way radio services offered. Body-Worn Cameras are also referred to as Wearable Cameras, Body-Worn Videos or BodyCams.

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

Originally, bodycams were typically only utilised by Police officers, but now they are more commonly used by firefighters, military, security personnel, shop staff, outdoor adventurers and sports enthusiasts.

Body-Worn Camera Devices

Bodycams 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.

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

Two-way radio manufacturers such as Motorola Solutions and Hytera offer a wide range of bodycams. Motorola Solutions even have a wearable bodycam that is a customisable name tag with the remote alarm activation.

motorola body-worn camera name tag

Professional Body-Worn Camera Features

A great bodycam should be durable, have a compact design, be lightweight, have good video resolution, and long battery life.

body-worn camera from Hytera

Many bodycams offer the following features:

  • IP67 water resistance (can be submerged in water at a maximum depth of 1 metre for 30 minutes)
  • 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

Body-Worn Camera Systems Integration

If you are new to the world of bodycams, then you may associate them in the same way with dash-cameras used in cars. Car dash cams are most likely stand-alone camera device 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.

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

Another example is Hytera bodycams with integrated remote speaker microphones, which allow you to perform video dispatch and command over 3G/4G/WiFi. This means you can make voice calls and initiate an emergency alarm in mission-critical conditions.

Body-Worn 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 body-worn cameras.

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

In addition, bodycams 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-Worn 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-Worn 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 Worn 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.

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

Our Thoughts

There are many bodycams in the wider marketplace, mainly aimed at individual users. (simply search on Amazon). Within the two-way radio industry, bodycams are typically designed for teams/groups of users whereby the devices can integrate with the manufacturer’s enhanced monitoring systems, which in turn can integrate with existing customer CCTV systems. Then when combining these with two-way radio integration the whole product offering 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.

If you are in security, read our article Body-Worn Cameras and Two Way Radios In Security

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