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What Is the Purpose of a Body Worn Camera? How and When They’re Used

What Is the Purpose of a Body Worn Camera? How and When They’re Used
What Is the Purpose of a Body Worn Camera? How and When They’re Used

Body worn cameras are increasingly common in any setting or environment where the wearer is responsible for security, dealing with issues or managing potentially aggressive behaviour. But how are they being deployed and used to improve security?

It’s very common to see body cameras used by the police force and emergency services, security guards, airport security teams and guard patrols.

However, much as dashcams have proven to be valuable assets to avoid false insurance claims or allegations of blame following traffic accidents, body worn cameras go above simply monitoring a scene or providing a retrospective account of events.

Features such as live streaming, transcribing, automatic recording and facial recognition technology enhance the functionality of body worn cameras and have led to them being used in a far broader number of sectors and applications. In this article, we review the sectors that are rapidly adopting body cams.

how are security body cameras used

What Is the Objective of Wearing a Body Worn Camera?

Body worn cameras act as mobile CCTV surveillance units. These advanced cameras are lightweight and durable and can be fitted to a chest strap, helmet, or even clipped to a badge.

As we’ve indicated, the purpose isn’t solely to record an incident, but can provide numerous benefits:

  • Creating a factual log of events, without any potential that the timeline, language used, body language or altercations have been influenced by the recollection of any party involved.
  • Improved transparency, where, for example, an arresting officer can show what they did and why – as an unambiguous record to support written reports.
  • Pre-empting and preventing security issues, where perpetrators or agitated parties are significantly less likely to engage in arguments or aggressive behaviour when they know they are being recorded live.
  • Augmented health and safety, where supervisors and technicians can watch a project in real-time, provide advice and commentary, or verify that workforces are complying with site safety protocols, such as wearing the correct PPE.
  • Collecting information for training purposes, whether recording a live depiction of a typical event, showing do’s and don’ts from real-world scenarios, or showing how staff respond to a specific event or scenario.
  • Saving time with functionality such as automatic transcribing to document conversations or details of a survey.

In each of these circumstances, the body worn camera does not play any active part but performs an important role, collating data, verifying actions, and providing a visual record of events or steps taken for either real-time or retrospective review.

Common Applications for Body Worn Cameras

While body worn cameras are used by the police, emergency responders, and security teams, the benefit of having an impartial record of events or collating live information regarding what is happening on-site has led to the introduction of cameras in a number of sectors.

Highways Construction and Repair Teams

Work crews and contractors involved in repairs and maintenance work along roadways are frequently subjected to abusive behaviour, often from road users who are frustrated at delays or queues. While verbal abuse is unsettling and can cause distress, it may also escalate into more serious actions, such as dangerous driving, approaching the safety barrier, or objects thrown from moving vehicles.

Highways contractors are increasingly deploying body worn cameras to discourage this behaviour, protect their workforces, and ensure they can provide clear visual evidence to the police to prosecute perpetrators of abusive or dangerous actions.

Insite Wearable Safety Devices

Higher-Risk Developments or Construction Sites

A similar application occurs within construction, and as in the highways sector, supervisors and site managers also use the information collected through body worn cameras for additional purposes, such as:

  • Monitoring progress and verifying work is completed to the appropriate standard.
  • Tracking the site, such as logging bottlenecks of delivery vehicles or using live camera footage to inform scheduling.
  • Communicating with on-site teams, sharing updated risk assessment information or transmitting alerts to improve safe working environments.
  • Managing larger workforces, checking staff are complying with site protocols and policies, are working in the correct designated zone, and are wearing compulsory PPE when working with certain tools.

Body worn cameras can assist in preventing avoidable incidents or accidents or as a form of evidence when investigating a near miss to determine how this has occurred and how it can be prevented.

Construction Site Theft

Road Users, Drivers and Transport Staff

Professionals working within the rail networks, bus drivers or private taxi drivers, often take steps to protect their personal safety, whether because they operate in lone working environments or do not have an immediate backup should a difficult or potentially aggressive situation develop.

As in construction, supervisors use live body worn cameras to track repair works or emergency incidents, such as recovering debris from a rail track or verifying whether a trespasser has successfully been removed from the trackside before services can resume.

Wearing a visible camera, with sufficient notices to inform members of the public that recording is taking place, can deter criminals, prevent anti-social behaviour, and provide SOS functions such as alarm buttons or fall detectors for people working off-site, alone or in remote locations.

Clearway SOSEC 200 Barrier

Body Worn Cameras in Healthcare Applications

Doctors, emergency responders, surgeons and triage nurses may wear body worn cameras for quality control and patient safety purposes, to record evidence and documentation for training, or to protect their welfare, particularly when working in isolated or potentially volatile environments.

A study conducted by the National Library of Medicine found that in the five years to 2024, violent incidents within A&E departments rose considerably, with 14% of all NHS staff experiencing physical violence during 2021, making body worn cameras alongside security guarding and CCTV an essential safeguard.

body worn cameras for doctors

Predicted Increases in the Use of Bodycameras

The UK was the first country to trial body worn cameras within its police forces. Since these initial pilots in 2005, personal cameras have been introduced into a wide variety of environments and settings where health and safety, workforce protection and incident monitoring are essential.

Features like adjustable recording enable the wearer to turn off cameras when not required or to protect privacy. Additional properties such as water-resistant casings, two-way communications and in-built audio recording make these versatile cameras an effective, low-cost way to reinforce safety and compliance while reducing the prevalence and frequency of aggressive behaviour and altercations.

Please contact the Clearway security team to learn more about body worn cameras, how they are currently used in your industry, and the multitude of benefits they offer. 

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