Queensland Police starts body-worn camera rollout


news The Queensland Police Service (QPS) has announced it is rolling out body-worn cameras (BWCs) for frontline police across the state.

The move follows a “successful” trial of the technology on the Gold Coast, said the Queensland Government, which has allocated more than $6 million over three years to fund the initiative.

The state’s Police Minister, Bill Byrne, said 2,200 new cameras would be purchased in addition to the existing 500 service-issued cameras already in use on the Gold Coast and in the Road Policing Command.

According to a statement from the state government, the total of 2,700 cameras will represent the largest number of BWCs rolled out to any law enforcement agency in Australia, and the fourth largest rollout globally.

“Following the successful trial on the Coast, I am pleased to announce that the QPS is now in a position to deploy BWCs to other priority sites throughout the state,” Minister Byrne said.

Frontline officers at “key locations” across 26 south-east Queensland, central Queensland and north Queensland police stations will now be equipped with cameras.

The technology “greatly assists” in dealing with serious incidents such as alcohol-fuelled violence and domestic and family violence through “enhanced evidence gathering”, said the minister.

Also benefitting from the tech investment will be specialist teams, including tactical crime units, rapid action and patrol groups, the Railway Squad and the Dog Squad.

Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said the roll out of BWCs across the state represented a “new chapter” in Queensland policing.

“An evaluation of the trial of body-worn camera use by Road Policing Command demonstrated a time saving of a minimum of 10 minutes per officer per shift,” he said.

Adding to the policing tools available as part of the rollout, an evidence management system allows officers to add metadata to their recordings in the field. This helps reduce the amount of time officers have to spend manually managing their data at the end of a shift.

“This has been a long-running project for the QPS and a great deal of work has gone into ensuring we can take advantage of this technology,” said the Police Commissioner. “Not only did we need to choose the right cameras, but we also needed to ensure we had the capacity to store large amounts of data.”

In 2015, the QPS invited offers from suppliers and, after an “extensive evaluation process”, the commissioner said he is “confident” that appropriate hardware and data storage system has been identified to serve the state’s police force “well into the future”.

“It also means that the QPS will now have a digital evidence and storage system that will become the repository for data from BWCs – both service-issued and privately owned – as well as from other sources such as digital voice recorders, digital cameras and closed-circuit television cameras,” he said.

Commissioner Stewart added that extra training will be provided to officers to ensure they are able to make “the best use of BWCs and the new storage system”.

Image credit: Queensland Police Service


  1. You have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about…
    About time the Police started showing the “other side” of human behaviour that all those hippies and libertarians refuse to acknowledge exists.

  2. It is a step in a good direction, though the recording can be started and stop at the discretion of the police officer in charge. Unfortunately this is an issue as deliberately not recording critical elements could disrupt the balance between the office and alleged offence person. This is probably the main reason why it is being rolled out to ensure fairness is applied, as many incidents caught by third party cameras have shown unjust force being used. Though I understand that it should be able to be disabled when the office needs to go to the toilet.
    The other concern is a separate agency should be responsible for storing the recorded footage and the officer with the camera should not have the ability to delete footage.

    • In court great weight should be given to the state of the camera.
      If it is off or “was not issued to the officer” when an adverse event occurs it should count against the officers credibility.

  3. I’d really prefer it if the body camera system was entirely out of the hands of the officer. They get it attached at the start of the shift, and they verify that it is working correctly before leaving the station. At the end of the shift, the system is signed back in, and confirmed to have not been tampered with etc. The footage gets pulled, and stored in a system where the police cannot access it – and nor can any other one person. It takes 2 party authority to access any footage (for example DPP and Police, Ombudsman and Police, or a Professional Standards Board and Internal Affairs). So, if there’s an incident the relevant authorities have a chance to access the footage for the specified date/time. That removes the issues with “I don’t want people to be able to recover footage of when I’m on the toilet”/”hey guys, check out this naked chick from today” – because in order to access it, there needs to be an actual need for it to occur – with specific times associated, and multiple organisations will be overseeing the access.

    And here is where I am probably a bit harsh, but given the misuse of these systems elsewhere I feel it is important to have – if someone goes to recover footage, and finds the camera has been obstructed, or otherwise impeded in its function at that time? Then the officer is gone – no second chance. They should have reported the incident when it happened, or that there had been a problem with the camera during a reported incident. And if there was a legitimate problem then the issue should have been discovered when the camera was issued, or returned and resolved then.

    Like I said, it’s harsh – but we expect those who hold positions of authority to be held to the highest possible standards, and this is a way of ensuring that their interactions are open to scrutiny, but the privacy of the officers, and the public can still be protected as much as possible.

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