NSW Police Get Always-On, Body-Mounted Video Cameras

If you're in the Cross of a Friday night, you'll soon be under even more surveillance. Patrolling NSW police officers will soon be equipped with automatically-recording, body-mounted video cameras with up to two and a half hours of recording time and front-facing screens that show you when you're being monitored.

ABC News reports that the state police force has spent $4 million on the cameras, which were previously trialed with highway patrol and regional police officers throughout NSW. They will apparently be used as standard by many public-facing officers in metropolitan areas in the future, and they're also in continuing trials in other states.

The body-worn video (BWV) cameras, which are apparently the Reveal Media RS3-SX sold by Defence Systems Australia, record 1080p Full HD video through an articulated camera at the top of the device, which is designed to be clipped onto a jacket or stab vest pocket. They have a forward-facing screen which shows that the video camera is recording -- a feature anecdotally suggested to influence anyone being recorded to moderate their behaviour and avoid violence.

There are almost 20,000 field and specialist police officers in the state; if half of these officers are assigned BWV cameras, the cost will be approximately $400 per unit. Each camera requires an accompanying SD card, since there is no internal storage. An internal battery provides around 150 minutes of recording time for the cameras, but this can be boosted to up to 8 hours with an external power pack.

Recently appointed NSW police minister Stuart Ayres announced the expanded rollout on Sunday, not too long after NSW Police embarked on a $45 million modernisation of its COPS IT system. The $4 million will go towards purchasing BWV cameras and outfitting patrolling officers with them, and training police in the etiquette for their use. [ABC News]