Assaults On Law Enforce­ment Offi­cers: Duis­burg Reli­es On Body Cams

Sin­ce the spring, the citi­zens’ and public order office of the city of Duis­burg has been one of the first muni­ci­pal offices in NRW to test the Net­Co Body Cam as part of a three-and-a-half-month pilot pro­ject. In the pro­cess, 20 came­ras are in dai­ly use by employees of the muni­ci­pal citi­zens’ and public order office from the spe­cial field ser­vice and traf­fic moni­to­ring. Pre­vious­ly, an amend­ment to the legal basis by the North Rhi­ne-West­pha­li­an sta­te par­lia­ment had made the came­ra deploy­ment pos­si­ble, sta­ting that not only poli­ce offi­cers but now also employees of muni­ci­pal law enforce­ment agen­ci­es may be equip­ped with body cams. 

Why Did The City Of Duis­burg Deci­de To Use Body Cams? 

At the moment, the­re are 51 emer­gen­cy per­son­nel working in traf­fic moni­to­ring and 65 employees working for the muni­ci­pal field ser­vice. In 2021 and ear­ly 2022, the­re were a total of 46 attacks or insults against staff. The­se included pas­si­ve resis­tance as well as phy­si­cal assaults. All inci­dents were repor­ted to the poli­ce. The body cam is inten­ded to help coun­ter­act the­se assaults.

What Is The Goal Of The Body Cam Deployment? 

Thors­ten Bleck­mann, the head of the city’s field ser­vice, hopes that the body cams will have a “pre­ven­ti­ve effect”. The came­ra recor­dings will also ser­ve as evi­dence for law enforce­ment if an inci­dent occurs.  
The City of Duisburg’s emer­gen­cy ser­vices expect more de-escala­ti­on and trans­pa­ren­cy, as well as more trust in the work of the Citi­zens’ and Public Order Office on the part of the citi­zens. The came­ras are atta­ched to the uni­forms of the emer­gen­cy forces in a cle­ar­ly visi­ble posi­ti­on and are inten­ded to de-esca­la­te poten­ti­al­ly cri­ti­cal situa­tions from the out­set. Depen­ding on the beha­vi­or of the oppo­nent, in a 2nd de-escala­ti­on stage the task force can point out the body cam and switch on the body cam dis­play, in which the trou­ble­ma­ker sees hims­elf. Only if the situa­ti­on can­not be cal­med down by the­se two mea­su­res, the body cam recor­ding is actual­ly star­ted. Only vide­os that are trans­mit­ted to the public prosecutor’s office due to an assault are stored for a lon­ger peri­od of time. All other recor­dings are not view­ed and are dele­ted after a short time. 

In late sum­mer 2022, the body-cam deploy­ment at the City of Duis­burg will be eva­lua­ted. The plan is to use the body cams per­ma­nent­ly in order to invest in staff safe­ty. The feed­back, which has alre­a­dy been published on social media and can also be read in various news­pa­per artic­les, is alre­a­dy con­sis­t­ent­ly posi­ti­ve. Sin­ce the use of the body cams, the­re have been no assaults on employees, accor­ding to the public order office.  
Sören Link, the Lord Mayor of the City of Duis­burg, has alre­a­dy publicly sta­ted that the body cam “should beco­me per­so­nal pro­tec­ti­ve equip­ment for the uni­for­med forces of the Citi­zens’ and Public Order Office” if the results con­ti­nue to be so posi­ti­ve after the end of the test pha­se. In addi­ti­on, he said on the web­site of “Mein Kre­feld”: “Our expe­ri­ence and that of other cities shows that body cams work”. 

Stadt Duisburg_Body-Cam

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