Why Secu­ri­ty Forces Should Only Use Pro­fes­sio­nal Body Cams

With just a few clicks, it is pos­si­ble to purcha­se inex­pen­si­ve body cams from various online pro­vi­ders, which, in addi­ti­on to the main tar­get group of “con­su­mers”, also adver­ti­se their use for secu­ri­ty per­son­nel. At first glan­ce, it seems that such a “con­su­mer body cam” can be exch­an­ged for a pro­fes­sio­nal ver­si­on that ser­ves the same pur­po­se — the pro­tec­tion of emer­gen­cy per­son­nel and the de-escala­ti­on of con­flict situa­tions — in equal measure. 

We explain why secu­ri­ty forces should defi­ni­te­ly opt for a pro­fes­sio­nal body cam. 

What Is The Legal Situa­ti­on Regar­ding The Use Of Body Cams? 

Body cams may only record situa­tions with images and sound if the­re is a spe­ci­fic pur­po­se (e.g. a con­flict or a dan­ge­rous situa­ti­on). Legal­ly, the coll­ec­tion of evi­dence for cri­mi­nal pro­se­cu­ti­on (is the respon­si­bi­li­ty of the poli­ce) and the increase of the own sen­se of secu­ri­ty do not count.  
In addi­ti­on, the fol­lo­wing appli­es: befo­re using a body cam, an ope­ra­tio­nal con­cept (GDPR-Com­pli­ant Body Cam Use — Ever­y­thing You Need To Con­sider (netco.de)) must be crea­ted that includes when and by whom a body cam may be used. In addi­ti­on, film­ing in sen­si­ti­ve loca­ti­ons (e.g. medi­cal sup­p­ly stores) must be ruled out and docu­men­ta­ti­on of the tech­ni­cal-orga­niza­tio­nal mea­su­res (TOM) for hand­ling per­so­nal data is required. 

What Distin­gu­is­hes A Pro­fes­sio­nal Body Cam? 

GDPR-com­pli­ant 

Pro­fes­sio­nal body cams and their asso­cia­ted manage­ment soft­ware are deve­lo­ped and manu­fac­tu­red in accordance with the appli­ca­ble data pro­tec­tion regu­la­ti­ons. Secu­ri­ty employees com­ple­te tail­o­red trai­ning cour­ses to learn the legal and tech­ni­cal hand­ling of the cameras. 

Data pro­tec­tion-com­pli­ant con­fi­gu­ra­ti­ons are pre­set on the body cam to ensu­re legal­ly com­pli­ant hand­ling and to pro­tect the pri­va­cy rights of third par­ties. Recor­ded vide­os, for exam­p­le, can­not be play­ed back on the came­ra its­elf, but must first be encrypt­ed and uploa­ded to a secu­re ser­ver via the came­ra char­ging sta­ti­on (Smart­Hub). Only the per­sons spe­ci­fied in the ope­ra­tio­nal con­cept can view body cam recor­dings that are to be for­ward­ed to the public prosecutor’s office. Con­se­quent­ly, vide­os can also only be dele­ted by this group of peo­p­le. Dele­ti­on on the came­ra its­elf is pro­hi­bi­ted, as other­wi­se a poli­ce offi­cer, for exam­p­le, could dele­te a video direct­ly on the came­ra that is unp­lea­sant for hims­elf. Howe­ver, body cams are also inten­ded to pro­vi­de evi­dence if an offi­cer has not beha­ved cor­rect­ly, so the per­son recor­ding and the per­son dele­ting the video must not be the same per­son.  
It is the­r­e­fo­re essen­ti­al to be able to make user, rights and role dis­tri­bu­ti­on set­tings in the body cam manage­ment software. 

Cus­to­mi­zed access­ories 

In addi­ti­on to Smart­Hubs, other access­ories such as hol­ders are nee­ded for suc­cessful body cam use (Matching Access­ories For Body Cams — Net­Co Pro­fes­sio­nal Ser­vices GmbH). When atta­ching came­ras to uni­forms, hol­ders must be pro­cu­red indi­vi­du­al­ly; with stan­dard pro­ducts, the­re is a risk that the body cam will slip or even fall off, making it impos­si­ble to record in an emergency. 

Sup­port 

Pro­fes­sio­nal body cam pro­vi­ders not only have a gre­at deal of exper­ti­se with regard to the came­ras, but also deve­lop sui­ta­ble access­ories tail­o­red to the user. Often the­re are also coope­ra­ti­ons with other spe­cia­list com­pa­nies, for exam­p­le, to be able to offer hol­ders with spe­cial requi­re­ments. Con­se­quent­ly, pro­fes­sio­nal pro­vi­ders are cha­rac­te­ri­zed by their exten­si­ve and cus­to­mer-ori­en­ted (tech­ni­cal) sup­port. As a Ger­man body cam deve­lo­per, Net­Co even offers its cus­to­mers fast and expert help in the local language. 

What Are “Con­su­mer Body Cams” Good For? 

Body cams that can be purcha­sed by con­su­mers eit­her do not have the data pro­tec­tion regu­la­ti­ons at all or not com­ple­te­ly. Many came­ras offe­red on the inter­net have no accom­pany­ing soft­ware, and vide­os can be play­ed and dele­ted on the device its­elf. If soft­ware is available, the­re are often few set­ting opti­ons: user, rights and role dis­tri­bu­ti­on set­tings are missing. 

In addi­ti­on, it should be noted that the­re is usual­ly no cus­to­mer ser­vice or only for­eign-lan­guage cus­to­mer ser­vice for “con­su­mer body cams” if pro­blems arise. 

Con­se­quent­ly, a “con­su­mer body cam” can­not be used for docu­men­ta­ti­on and de-escala­ti­on of con­flict and dan­ge­rous situa­tions due to the men­tio­ned weaknesses. 

Our cus­to­mer ser­vice is often asked whe­ther body cams can be used to coll­ect evi­dence in neigh­bor­hood con­flicts, for exam­p­le. For pri­va­te indi­vi­du­als, the fol­lo­wing appli­es: in public places, the came­ras may be worn. “Per­ma­nent” film­ing is not per­mit­ted, howe­ver. In addi­ti­on, per­sons being film­ed must express con­sent befo­re the recor­ding beg­ins. Recor­ding wit­hout pri­or con­sent may result in legal consequences. 

Con­se­quent­ly, the use of con­su­mer body cams is aimed at docu­men­ting sports and other hob­by acti­vi­ties whe­re other peo­p­le are not filmed. 

Con­clu­si­on

Secu­ri­ty ser­vices should urgen­tly refrain from “con­su­mer body cams” in order to be able to com­ply with the data pro­tec­tion requi­re­ments of a body cam deploy­ment. In addi­ti­on, you bene­fit from cus­to­mizable access­ories and expert (tech­ni­cal) sup­port when using pro­fes­sio­nal body cams. 

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