Brussels police happy with body cams so far

Brussels police happy with body cams so far
© Belga

Police officers of the zone Brussels Ixelles that started patrolling with body cameras are pleased with the experience so far.

Around 280 police officers have been using a bodycam since mid-October, first as part of a pilot project and now as standard practice, according to De Standaard.

“We have the impression that police interventions are calmer and escalate less. No research has been done on this, but that is the general feeling in the force,” police spokesperson Olivier Slosse told the newspaper.

“Before, we sometimes saw colleagues wearing a bodycam, but there was no legal framework for this. We are happy that this is finally possible. If you look at other countries, I think bodycam images will become increasingly important. The images give a lot of extra context. It sheds a different light on the conflict, a part that often remained invisible.”

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The goal of using bodycams is to improve relations between police and the community by recording interactions. This is intended to ensure accurate documentation of such interactions, holding police officers accountable for their behavior.

Police have to activate the camera, at which point it logs a 30-second pre-recording. Images recorded with the bodycam can also be used in court proceedings.

The bodycams come in the wake of criticism against police, who Belgium’s human rights organisations say rarely face consequences for violence perpetrated against the citizenry. Some of them are launching a project to map police violence in the region by collecting testimonies from people who have experienced such abuse from officers.

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