Body Worn Cameras - Calls for Urgent Reforms
A recent case in the Victorian County Court disclosed there is no requirement for police to release footage from body-worn cameras (BWC) in civil proceedings. Judge Sandra David found there was no provision under the Surveillance Devices Act 1999 (Vic) to compel BWC files to be handed over in civil proceedings.
Lawyers and civil libertarians have urged Attorney-General Jill Hennessy to amend legislation from 2017, when cameras were first trialled in response to recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence.
It is believed there may be broader implications such as non-disclosure of BWC files captured by security staff at events, hospitals, airports, private prisons, detention centres and other places.
Although the actual number of BWCs utilised in Victoria are unknown across the private sector, it is reported that over 8000 frontline police, protective services, prison and ambulance officers in Victoria now routinely wear BWCs are part of their work.
We will continue to monitor this area of the law and advise any changes.