Body cams: The non-vio­lent method for de-escala­ting con­flict-laden situations

When a con­flict builds up, secu­ri­ty per­son­nel do not have many opti­ons to de-esca­la­te it. Poli­ce offi­cers in par­ti­cu­lar may also use means such as tasers and pep­per spray for this pur­po­se, which can end­an­ger the health of the aggres­sors. The use of a body cam, on the other hand, is not only a (cost-)effective but also a non-vio­lent alter­na­ti­ve that has been pro­ven to pre­ven­tively coun­ter­act the escala­ti­on of con­flicts and dan­ge­rous situa­tions. This is espe­ci­al­ly true for body cams with a front dis­play.

NetCo Body-Cam Zoom - Deeskalationseffekt

What Is The Advan­ta­ge Of A Body Cam With Front Display? 

Ima­gi­ne the fol­lo­wing situa­ti­on: On a Satur­day evening in a lar­ge city, passers-by are being haras­sed by a hoo­li­gan. Two poli­ce offi­cers, each equip­ped with a body cam, are on pat­rol on foot, see the inci­dent and inter­ve­ne. The main goal of the poli­ce offi­cers is to peaceful­ly resol­ve the situa­ti­on and avo­id an escala­ti­on of the con­flict — for the safe­ty of the passers-by and for their own protection.

3 De-escala­ti­on Levels: This Is How The Body Cam Helps 

The body cam sup­ports its wea­rers in pas­sing through the three de-escala­ti­on stages:

1. Show­ing Pre­sence With The Body Cam 

Often the wea­ring of the came­ra or the ver­bal refe­rence to it alre­a­dy has a de-escala­ting effect, so that a fur­ther assault or the escala­ti­on of a situa­ti­on can be pre­ven­ted. In addi­ti­on to the cle­ar­ly visi­ble front dis­play, a patch can also be atta­ched to the uni­form jacket or an addi­tio­nal sti­cker on the came­ra with the inscrip­ti­on “Video”, so that the func­tion of the body cam can be asses­sed from a distance. In our exam­p­le, the rio­ter could noti­ce the body came­ra on the uni­form of the poli­ce offi­cers as soon as they approach him.

At best, the rio­ter is now deter­red from show­ing hims­elf (ver­bal­ly and phy­si­cal­ly) rea­dy to use vio­lence, as the poli­ce offi­cers can direct­ly record an image and sound evi­dence for pro­se­cu­ti­on, should he igno­re the offi­cers’ request to cea­se and desist and con­ti­nue to harass the passers-by. The pre­sence of the body cam thus also con­tri­bu­tes to rai­sing the inhi­bi­ti­on thres­hold to esca­la­te a conflict.

Erste Deeskalationsstufe einer Body-Cam mit Frontdisplay - Body-Cam zeigen

2. Indi­ca­ti­on Of Upco­ming Recor­ding — Acti­va­ti­on Of The Mir­ror Function 

Some rio­ters are so enra­ged that they can­not per­cei­ve or ratio­nal­ly assess the pre­sence of body cams and the con­se­quen­ces of their own beha­viour through law enforce­ment. The safe­ty of offi­cers, invol­ved passers-by and also unin­vol­ved third par­ties is at risk.
If the situa­ti­on can­not be cal­med down by the pre­sence of the came­ras, the poli­ce offi­cers must resort to defu­sing the situa­ti­on with the help of the second de-escala­ti­on level: They inform the trou­ble­ma­ker that they will turn on the came­ra if he does not adjust his beha­viour and stop the harass­ment. So that it does not remain a mere ver­bal hint and the rio­ter sees that the­se are not emp­ty thre­ats, the offi­cers can acti­va­te the lar­ge front dis­play — through the mir­ror func­tion, the coun­ter­part now sees hims­elf in the screen and his own nega­ti­ve beha­viour is visual­ly shown to the rio­ter. Howe­ver, the body cam does not yet record the situation.

Zweite Deeskalationsstufe einer Body-Cam mit Frontdisplay - Spiegelfunktion starten

3. Start The Body Cam Recording

If, for this or ano­ther reason, the rio­ter is not deter­red by the pre­vious mea­su­res, con­ti­nues his harass­ment or even attacks the poli­ce offi­cers uncha­l­len­ged, the emer­gen­cy ser­vices acti­va­te the body cam recor­ding: the situa­ti­on is now recor­ded with images and sound and can ser­ve as evi­dence for the public prosecutor’s office — if the rio­ter can­not be dis­sua­ded from fur­ther actions. The Net­Co Body-Cam docu­ments every sin­gle detail in a legal­ly secu­re man­ner.
(Fur­ther infor­ma­ti­on on the GDPR-com­pli­ant Net­Co Body-Cam can be found here: DSGVO-com­pli­ant Body-Cam use — Ever­y­thing you need to know).

Dritte Deeskalationsstufe einer Body-Cam mit Frontdisplay - Aufnahme starten

The Func­tions Of The Lar­ge Front Dis­play At A Glance: 

In 50% of cases, a con­flict or dan­ge­rous situa­ti­on can be de-escala­ted by swit­ching on the body-cam front dis­play, which noti­ce­ab­ly redu­ces the num­ber of incidents.

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