Bodycam usage goes mainstream in southwest Germany with more than 30,300 bodycam missions
An increasing number of police officers are threatened, spat at, beaten and kicked on duty in Stuttgart, Germany. When situations reach a critical moment, officers in the southwest of Germany state that the person in question will be filmed from that moment onwards. The device allowing such an approach is the bodycam, which hangs on the uniform of the officers.
In most cases, the prospect of being recorded is enough to calm troublemakers down. If an attack does occur, bodycams provide officers with evidence that can be easily retrieved and used in court if necessary.
Bodycam usage in Germany
Since bodycams were introduced nationwide in 2019, they have been used more than 30,300 times by police officers. The Interior Minister Thomas Strobl (CDU) agrees that the use of bodycams is a part of everyday life. Police officers use bodycams when necessary in more than 80 percent of cases. Experience shows that simply pointing out that a situation is about to be filmed, is often enough to defuse a dangerous situation.
Most of the time, the cameras are used in the so-called pre-recording mode. This means that short sequences are continuously recorded and overwritten every 45 seconds. If the officer presses the button a second time, the last sequence is not deleted and the rest of the recording is saved permanently. Having said that, most of the recordings are quickly deleted. Of all the 30,305 records in total, around 3,100 were still stored at the end of May. These can then go on to be used as evidence in criminal proceedings or investigations.
Bodycam usage spreads quickly
All patrol services at the police stations in Baden-Württemberg (146 in total) have been equipped with the cameras since June 2019. Since then, bodycam usage has become increasingly widespread in the area.
The primary goal is to document attacks on officials with bodycams. Because the violence against police officers in the southwest is increasing, it is necessary to take action. In 2020, violent incidents rose by 3.2 percent to 5151 cases compared to the previous year. This meant a new record level had been reached. The number of police officers who were injured grew by a whopping 17.3 percent to 2,630. The amount of attempted homicides rose by 5 to 11 cases. Not every attack takes place in public spaces. It can also happen in apartments, offices, shops or clubs. In 2020, an estimate of 28 percent of incidents of violence against police officers and around 32 percent of the cases of injured emergency service workers were recorded. Since January 2021, bodycams can also be used in apartments, inside disco’s and on certain business premises in certain cases.