Bodycam metadata benefits operations and policy-making for organisations and industries

The first element people always highlight is that bodycams provide video evidence for use in court. While this is one of the core functions of bodycam systems, they gather far more information which is collectively known as metadata. This bodycam metadata benefits operations and policy making in a variety of ways.

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Bodycam metadata benefits operations and policy-making in the form of usable, actionable data. It is all the information collected through bodycam systems and consists of at least:

  • Statistics concerning bodycam activation and usage
  • GPS data
  • Time and date
  • User ID.

This data is used in a variety of ways to benefit operations in many industries and organisations. There are two distinct ways of how this metadata is utilised: incidental and aggregated.

Aggregated bodycam system metadata is a treasure trove for analysis and policy-making

Data is the number one commodity in the modern world. Every organisation, company and society collects vast amounts of data in order to chart many aspects of their operations, as well as the environment in which they take place. Bodycam systems, alongside bodycam management software have shown to be perfectly suited for the collection of a variety of data. They reliably and objectively collect data which can be used to quantitatively analyse processes, behaviours and environments.

One of the early adopters of bodycam systems, police and other law enforcement organisations, have experienced the benefits of metadata in charting various elements. These include the frequency and time of bodycam activation, who activates the bodycam, where there are activation hotspots and about the reasons for activation. This information is invaluable for analysing different factors within areas of a policing zone.  Bodycam metadata provides the informational basis for the formation of new policies, or targeted adjustments to existing ones.

Envision a city with a large amount of districts each with their inherent uniqueness in terms of population, socio-economic status, amenities, gathering places etc. These districts each have a distinct character and any policy aimed at reducing incidents or crime requires distinct, targeted policy-making. With the data collected through bodycams operators can chart exactly when and where there is frequent activation, by which police officer and for what reason. This results in accurate, objective information on escalating interactions with the public, which can be organised per district. This information can be used to design and implement targeted policies that are custom-made for the different districts. Resulting in more focused approaches to address area-distinct issues and through bodycam metadata, measurable results.

Aggregated bodycam metadata can provide law enforcement organisations with statistics on:

  • The ways, frequencies, times and locations of bodycam activation and use
  • Which officers activate bodycams and under what circumstances
  • The length of recordings (incidents) and variety therein
  • Variety between police teams, forces or departments in different zones, districts, cities or regions
  • Situation, incident and crime mapping in different zones, districts, cities or regions

Aggregated bodycam metadata is crucial for process and policy analysis, as well as their design and results

Naturally the collection of such large amounts of statistical data on operations, procedures and results can easily and profitably be used by many other organisations and companies. Metadata can be a treasure trove for researchers in many fields, from behaviour psychology to urban/rural development to government policy. It is also valuable for logistical operations where aggregated bodycam metadata can provide a lot of information on issues with transport, delivery times, damaged goods and theft. Or emergency services that need reliable data on their personal safety when arriving to a scene in a certain place. Or security services that need reliable data in order to optimise the safety of officials, chart the frequency of theft and incident hotspots, or seeing what works and what doesn’t.

    Incidental bodycam system metadata supports the frontline professional every day and with every action

    The bodycam metadata also benefits operations for specific individual incidents. This is provided by precise information in the form of GPS and time and date.  Livestreaming has added another dimension to this individual or incident level metadata. GPS data provided through bodycam systems has provided law enforcement organisations with:

    • Information that is used after the conclusion of an incident or operation to analyse, assess and improve future actions.
    • Actionable, objective information that allows for a live overview of actions, movements and positions of officers during an operation through livestreaming.
    • The ability to immediately respond to changes on the ground as indicated by the coordinates of active officers.
    • Improved coordination with airborne units; through precise GPS tracking airborne units can be automatically and quickly sent relevant updates of police officer locations.

    The crucial information provided by bodycam GPS data has proven its added benefit to police operations worldwide.

    Other industries and organisations that have found GPS data to be beneficial are fire brigades, private security companies and logistics services. Livestreaming GPS coordinates has allowed firefighters to better coordinate actions in the field through increased oversight. Private security companies use bodycam GPS data similarly to know the position of security officers, who often work alone or in small teams and need to be supported quickly in case of emergency. The precise GPS coordinates provided by the ZEPCAM T3 Live is even used to support and protect journalists working for a major news organisation. Whenever they feel threatened by an escalating situation they turn on the livestreaming function of the T3 live. Their GPS coordinates are then sent to the relevant security officials concurrently with the footage, who in turn can share this information with the police if necessary. Logistical operations are also supported by bodycam GPS data; to know where shipments are, to respond to delays efficiently, to chart operations and improve.

    Bodycam metadata on the time and date of activation provides officers with the confirmation of their just actions, as well as their reporting of an incident afterwards. It is very valuable for accurate and complete reporting in a criminal investigation. Earlier research in Belgium found that police officers use metadata to support, corroborate and expand on their incident reporting. Metadata such as the precise time allowed them to reanalyse their report and if necessary, add relevant details that would not have been included without the support of bodycams. Data on the timing of operations supports criminal procedures as more relevant, objective information is available for courts and judges.

    Information on time and date is also useful for other organisations and industries. For logistics and delivery companies, having consistent reliable data on the timing of processes and deliveries can provide useful information for the training and development of staff and setting goals. For private security, having the time of an incident automatically recorded results in useable information for claims or court procedures. In any organisation, whether it be private or public, time is a valuable asset and insight benefits increased oversight.

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