Earlier this week I saw a segment on CNN about the Bobby Cam. This is a video camera that some British police (known as Bobbies) wear. It is similar to the American dash cam-this camera on a police car captures video of what happens in front of the cruiser.
While some privacy advocates argue against such cameras, they seem to be an excellent idea. First, they are actually good for innocent citizens. Assuming the recording is done properly, such video footage would be able to show that a person is not guilty of a crime. Second, they are good for the legal system. Video evidence is far superior to that of eye witnesses (eye witnesses are extremely unreliable for a variety of reasons) and quality evidence is good for the legal system. Third, they are good for the police. In cases in which lies are told about police officers, the video can reveal the truth of the situation. For example, a friend of mine who was a police officer found himself in a difficult situation. He acted properly, but the others involved in the situation lied about what happened. The press jumped on the bandwagon against him and things looked grim. Fortunately for my friend, a credible witness corroborated his story and the truth was revealed. A video of the incident would have enabled that ugly situation to be avoided.
It might be objected that the video would be tampered with. This is possible, but is not a special objection against video-almost all evidence is subject to tampering. It might also be objected that the police might tape things in violation of various rules and use such evidence improperly. In reply, the same can be said of any type of evidence and hence this is not a special objection against video evidence. There are legitimate privacy concerns that can be raised, but these can be handled by the same sort of rules that govern police entering and investigating various places.
Thus, the cop cam seems like an excellent idea and one that should be adopted in the United States.