by Jacki Condon

PROTECTION AND TRUST

Body cameras are the saviours of security

Protection and trust.jpg

Across the globe, security technology is constantly developed, improved upon and provided in order to create an environment that is truly safe and secure. According to a report issued by the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), violent crime remains an ever-present threat in South Africa. The findings, based on the South African Police Service’s (SAPS) major crime statistics for 2015/2016, common crimes include: “murder, rape, armed robbery, carjacking, home invasion, property theft, smash-and-grabs, and ATM robberies. Victims who resist or fail to comply with demands may be killed or seriously injured.”

It is no wonder then that South Africa’s private security industry is one of the largest in the world. However, in today’s age (and despite the rampant crime), private security officers and their companies are often battling not only criminals, but a dark cloud of lawsuits and liabilities. As in every sector, innovation drives performance. In modern times, when an incident occurs, the need for adequate, accurate and real-time visual and audio information is absolutely critical.

Enter body worn cameras. This technology is probably the most significant development in security guard service delivery today. Over the last five years, the introduction of the body worn camera by security officers in the private sector has become the mainstay of our guarding methodology.

There are six key advantages to body worn cameras. Firstly, in the prevention of a crime or incident, the camera eradicates any possible disputes between the security officers and members of the public. In the security sector, the ‘he said, she said’ problem frequently arises, and creates a toxic relationship with the clientele. These cameras eradicate this problem.

With both real-time and recorded documented evidence, the details of the event can be viewed, as experienced first-hand by the officers themselves. As the door and bat in the Pistorius case displayed, the chain of evidence is critical in ensuring the use of such evidence in court. In the event of a crime scene, accident, incident, or health and safety violation, the first respondent is normally the security officer. A body worn camera enables them to capture video footage and photographs of the scene before it is disturbed.

These cameras also do away with tardiness and unproductivity, as management can log in at any time to see what the guards are doing. Similarly, collusion with other staff members becomes much more difficult. Finally, the camera’s GPS ensures security officers can be tracked. While this gives management insight into productivity, it also offers in-depth data of the officer’s patrolling techniques. This means the cameras are also excellent training aids, giving security providers the opportunity adjust an officer’s approach to his/her duties for greater efficiency and efficacy.

With the camera’s housing unit sewed into a combat jacket, officers are unable to remove it unless they remove the entire jacket. There are many variations of the waterproof and shock resistant body worn camera, with functionalities and features suited to the client’s unique environment, security profile, budget and requirements.

Some versions are highly sophisticated allowing for a live feed, while others offer the capability to download and inspect the footage at a later stage. Every security provider in South Africa should provide their officers with this technology. Not only does this give the guards the right tools to do their jobs effectively, but it also protects the company against damages, and gives the public a greater sense of trust in the integrity of the industry.

Jacki Condon, Managing Director of Apache Security Service

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