Body-worn police cameras introduced this spring in all Finland - Police
Poliisi ottaa haalarikamerat käyttöön koko maassa tänä keväänä
Body-worn police cameras introduced this spring in all Finland
The Police will start using body-worn cameras, or bodycams, on a national scale this spring. The Helsinki and Eastern Uusimaa Police Departments have piloted the use of bodycams, and owing to the good experience, they will now be introduced in all Police Departments.
To prepare for the use, the National Police Board published instructions on the recording of Police tasks with a bodycam or other technical equipment. The instructions focus on the use and principles applied to bodycams and other technical devises intended for recording, fixed on the police officer or their equipment during their assignments. In addition, the instructions focus on the data collection during the Police operative work, done with a bodycam or other technical devise in general control and surveillance situations.
Devices used visibly
In Police bodycam operations, the principal starting point is openness and transparency of the activities. The devices are used visibly, and the video recording is made known, as far as possible, to the person being videoed.
- It is also important from the device utilisation perspective that they can be used in any type of Police assignment in which recording is necessary. The purpose of the use of the devices is to collect the same information that the Police is getting through normal observation, Deputy Commissioner Sanna Heikinheimo of the National Police Board points out.
All information recorded by the Police is not saved in Police person registers – only the footage that is appropriate and necessary for the Police assignments at hand.
- The use of the bodycams will improve the collection of data in daily Police operations. The footage can be used, for example, as the evidence and proof of criminal and traffic cases. The introduction of bodycams also improves the legal protection of both the Police and the targeted individuals, Deputy Commissioner Heikinheimo adds.
Complementary policing method
The Police utilises technical surveillance for general order and safety purposes as well as in traffic control.
- We find that the introduction of bodycams is a very useful novelty. The bodycams complement the current selection of methods to record and collect data during Police assignments, she adds.
The technical policing equipment introduced over the past few years include devices to read registration plates, as well as video recording with drones.
Need to develop legislation under scrutiny
According to Sanna Heikinheimo, it is possible that the new modes of operation will raise needs to revise the respective legislation.
- To record Police operations with a technical device and the comprehensive use of the footage are important issues from the data protection perspective. For example, the possibilities to use face recognition technology should be clarified as the technical observation and collection methods become more common in policing work.
Each Police Department has the technical readiness and the bodycam devices available to start the bodycam operations in the spring once the Police staff has had the respective training.
Through a controlled introduction of the operations, the use of bodycams becomes an established part of daily policing. The operations will be developed during the current year, with a focus on potential new technological solutions with due respect for data security.