Body­cams at major events: Came­ras sup­port Colo­gne carnival 

Short­ly after the start of the Body-Cam Pilot test pha­se at the City of Colo­gne, the muni­ci­pa­li­ty is alre­a­dy dra­wing posi­ti­ve con­clu­si­ons about body cams: the field staff of the public order office have bene­fi­ted from the use of the came­ras, espe­ci­al­ly on car­ni­val days. In par­ti­cu­lar, the front screen of the tes­ted came­ras — inclu­ding the Net­Co Body-Cam — had a de-escala­ting effect on the reve­lers: “By wea­ring the Body­cam with front screen, it was found that tho­se affec­ted adapt­ed their beha­viour and beca­me more coope­ra­ti­ve,” a spo­kes­wo­man for the city of Colo­gne announ­ced short­ly after the car­ni­val (source: New devices in use: Body­cam hel­ped Colo­gne public order office at car­ni­val in action against trou­ble­ma­kers (

The area in which the body cams were used was exten­ded during the car­ni­val days: while the came­ras are nor­mal­ly only used around the cathedral/main train sta­ti­on and the old town, the field staff now also wore the body cams in the Zül­pich dis­trict in order to de-esca­la­te con­flicts and pro­tect other revelers.

The body cams were in use on car­ni­val days — and not just in the cathe­dral area, but in all “hot­spots” in the city. The gene­ral pilot pha­se will last for a total of 6 months. In addi­ti­on to the Net­Co Body-Cam, other models will also be tes­ted. After the test pha­se and a sub­se­quent eva­lua­ti­on, a decis­i­on will be made as to whe­ther the body cam will con­ti­nue to be used by the field staff of the Colo­gne Public Order Office.

The City of Colo­gne atta­ches gre­at importance to a well thought-out tech­ni­cal infra­struc­tu­re. The abili­ty to store recor­ded body cam data in the city’s IT net­work is important here in order to avo­id secu­ri­ty gaps. 

Only a few body cams nee­ded to be used at the carnival

During the test peri­od to date, a body cam recor­ding has only been made twice — both times during the Colo­gne car­ni­val. In three cases, aggres­si­ve reve­lers were war­ned, but the body cam was not acti­va­ted becau­se the situa­ti­on could be de-escala­ted. In one of the two cases in which the body cam recor­ded the situa­ti­on, it was a hea­vi­ly into­xi­ca­ted per­son who was invol­ved in a fight. The came­ra was swit­ched on after a mem­ber of secu­ri­ty staff was also atta­cked. The image and sound mate­ri­al from the body cam is now being used to pre­ser­ve evi­dence in order to be able to suc­cessful­ly initia­te cri­mi­nal pro­cee­dings against the partygoer.

  • For data pro­tec­tion reasons in the EU, body cam recor­dings are dele­ted by default after a pre­de­fi­ned peri­od of time. Howe­ver, inde­fi­ni­te sto­rage is pos­si­ble in three cases:
  • For the pro­se­cu­ti­on of cri­mi­nal offen­ses and admi­nis­tra­ti­ve offenses 
  • To avert dan­ger at the request of the per­son film­ed, in the event of a request to review the lega­li­ty of the body cam recording

In the case of the hea­vi­ly into­xi­ca­ted per­son who assaul­ted the poli­ce offi­cer, the body cam recor­ding is also initi­al­ly stored inde­fi­ni­te­ly to enable cri­mi­nal prosecution.

Body cams also hel­pful at other major events

It is not only at the Colo­gne Car­ni­val that the expe­ri­ence of the public order office has shown that body cams are a pro­mi­sing way of de-escala­ting con­flict-laden situa­tions. The use of body cams is also bene­fi­ci­al at other major events that are accom­pa­nied by the public order office and poli­ce in order to mana­ge poten­ti­al con­flicts and ensu­re public safety.

Howe­ver, in order to be able to equip addi­tio­nal secu­ri­ty per­son­nel, for exam­p­le from pri­va­te secu­ri­ty com­pa­nies, with body cams for major events, a few hurd­les still need to be over­co­me in terms of data pro­tec­tion. Net­Co has crea­ted a free gui­de (available on request) to pro­vi­de all inte­res­ted secu­ri­ty com­pa­nies with a detail­ed over­view of all mea­su­res for GDPR-com­pli­ant body cam use.

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