Many security and service personnel are subject to violent attacks — including train attendants on local and long-distance trains. Often, even passengers are affected. To counter conflict situations, transportation companies are increasingly turning to technical solutions such as body cams to ensure the safety of staff and fellow passengers.
To explore the potential of the body cam, a field study was conducted on behalf of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia on the regular use of body cams in trains of the SPNV around Cologne, which was evaluated by LOGO. The study, conducted between 2018 and 2020, focused among other things on investigating the de-escalating effect of the body cams and their acceptance among employees and passengers. As a result, an evidence-based training concept for body cam-wearing (train) personnel has been developed, the key elements of which are presented in the course of the article.
NetCo’s body cams, which feature a powerful battery and a large, high-quality display, were also used in this study.
What Is The Result Of The Body Cam Effect Study?
The study conducted shows the preventive properties of the body cam and proves that the body cameras contribute to an increased sense of security on trains. Accordingly, over 90% of the security personnel and passengers involved have a high level of acceptance for the body cam as a technical means of promoting security. Only a small number of passengers are critical of the body cam due to data protection reasons and interference with personal rights.
The body cam as a means of deployment therefore has a calming and preventive effect and is rated positively by the study test group. However, it was also found out that this effect is not automatically guaranteed with the application of the camera, but that it requires a professional handling to be able to use the complete potential of the body cam. Therefore, it is essential to train the staff correctly and evidence-based before using the body cam.
How Is The Staff Best Prepared For The Body Cam Operation?
The results of the body cam impact study were used to derive content for de-escalation training, so that staff are protected from assaults, which can also be attributed to wearing the body cam, among other things.
Important components of a body cam de-escalation training are summarized as follows:
- Technical aspects
- Legal aspects
- Attitudinal and behavioral elements
- Use of at least one functioning body cam
In the run-up to a body cam deployment, the personnel must be familiarized with all the technical functions of the body cam so that every grip is in place when a situation comes to a head. It is also important to deal with the legal aspects so that the body cam can be used in compliance with the law and the regulations on data protection can be clearly explained to passengers.
In addition to technical and legal aspects, intensive attention should also be paid to conveying attitude and behavior-related elements: In order to minimize the probability of escalation, situations must be correctly assessed. In this context, it is crucial when and how the body camera is pointed out and when it is activated in a critical situation. If staff act insensitively and activate the body camera too early, for example, this can have a demonstrably counterproductive and self-harming effect.
Furthermore, it should be ensured that at least one functioning body cam is used during the training so that the emergency personnel can not only be shown the body cam in detail, but can also test the correct handling of the camera. In addition, only the evaluation of the conversation simulation can reveal contact and positioning errors, because if the camera does not capture the counterpart, neither a preventive nor a repressive benefit can unfold. In addition, the uncertainties and dangers in the use of the body cam can be illustrated in this way. When and how the body camera is switched on in a potentially critical situation should already be well practiced during the training so that negative experiences in dealing with the body camera in reality can be counteracted.
Conclusion: De-Escalation Training For Successful Body Cam Use
Knowledge of the correct method of use, appropriate attitudes towards the body cam, trained judgment and confident handling only develop their positive effect together and ensure the prevention and de-escalation of (potentially) critical situations. Therefore, body cam training is strongly recommended prior to deployment and protects emergency personnel from assaults. The above-mentioned training recommendations were derived on the basis of evidence, and the training concept itself was tested and optimized with emergency personnel. Since 2020, LOGO Body Cam has also been offering de-escalation training for personnel outside the field of public transport (e.g. airport security, public order offices).
About The Person
Udo Kluttig holds a degree in psychology and has been working as a trainer, lecturer and scientist for 30 years. He is active throughout Germany in the areas of violence and de-escalation and, as managing director of LOGO Bochum, supports companies in the creation of evidence-based training concepts and in the training of employees. From 2018 to 2020, he evaluated the effect of body cams in public transport on behalf of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Contact: LOGO, Society for Training and Consulting, Alleestr. 119a, 44793 Bochum, 0234/332156, firstname.lastname@example.org