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”.