Policing with body worn video technology: Overview and Case Studies

Title: Policing with body worn video technology: Overview and Case Studies

Mr Mark Lyell, Supreme Court of Queensland, High Court of Australia, Barrister-­‐at-­‐Law


Law Enforcement involves two fundamental roles: investigation of offences and prosecution of offenders. Since  the  late 1830s  police  have  used  notebooks to  record  information, observations  and conversations including confessions  or admissions. More  than one  hundred and  fifty  years  later police  are  still issued notebooks for the same purposes. Body worn video (BWV) represents a development and convergence of technologies  associated  with  audio  and  visual  recording,  including  electronic  recording  of  interviews, CCTV and in-­‐car cameras. BWV represents  a development and extension of these technologies, but also has the potential to be a force multiplier for law enforcement agencies in the future.

Drawing on  the  experience  of  police  in  Australia,  the  UK,  US  and Canada, Mark  will discuss  five  main reasons why law enforcement agencies should embrace this technology. Firstly BWV provides police a tool with  which  they  can  gather  the  best  evidence. Secondly BWV  can  assist  in  negating  false  complaints against  police. Thirdly  BWV can modify behaviour and  improve  officer  safety.  Fourthly  BWV enhances professionalism, accountability  and  public  confidence  in  police.  Finally  BWV  can  provide  an  effective training tool. While the limitations of BWV should be understood, and concerns in relation to privacy must be addressed, it is argued that ultimately there  is a coincidence of interest for police, courts, public and defence lawyers in seeing BWV used more widely by police and law enforcement agencies. BWV provides police  an important new  tool that can enhance  the  efficiency and effectiveness  of police  in discharging their duty and bringing offenders to justice.


Mark  Lyell is a Barrister of the  Supreme Court of Queensland and the High Court of Australia. Mark  is  a graduate  of the University  of Queensland where  he  completed  a  BA  in philosophy  and political theory. Mark  completed  training  at  the  Queensland  Police  Academy  and  completed  two  years  service  as  an operational police  officer  with the  Queensland Police  Service,  and  he  holds  a  Diploma  of  Public Safety (Policing). He is a Member of the Australasian Institute of Policing and a Certified Police Practitioner. Mark subsequently completed a Bachelor of Laws  with Honours, and a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice at the Queensland University of Technology.

Mark  has  ten  years  experience  as  an  advocate  in  criminal  cases  before  the  Magistrates  Court  in Queensland. Mark is  a Captain in the  Army  Reserve, having  graduated  from  the  Royal Military College Duntroon.  In  December  of  2010  Mark  was  awarded  the  Courier  Mail  Police  Scholarship  to  study international best practice in police use of body worn video.

This scholarship enabled Mark  to travel to the  UK, US and Canada to study the  experience  of police and law enforcement agencies and prosecuting authorities employing this technology.