POLICE say body-worn cameras have already led to four guilty pleas as they get set to roll them out permanently across western Victoria.
Ballarat Inspector Trevor Cornwill said the six-week trial - conducted at Ballarat and Epping - had been a “massive triumph” across the board.
And due to its success, an extra 800 members across 59 stations in the west of the state will be fitted out before the end of the year.
The $42 million state government investment is now expected to be rolled out statewide by 2020.
“Footage captured by cameras within the six week period was instrumental in securing guilty pleas in at least four court cases which is great result across Ballarat and Epping,” Inspector Cornwill said.
“The community has shown great interest in the cameras and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.”
Inspector Cornwill said all Ballarat police had been trained in their use, and the cameras had been particularly helpful in dealing with live situations, such as family violence reports or live crime scenes.
He said they were helpful in recording evidence. They also enhanced evidence gathering and held both the police and public to account.
“Absolutely we were proud to be a region chosen for the trial; it’s a fantastic piece of equipment,” he said.
Legislation to allow body-worn cameras was officially enacted on August 21.
“We will have the cameras from Moorabool to the South Australia border and from Warrnambool to Mildura, which is 60 per cent coverage across the state by the end of this year,” Inspector Cornwill said.
“Police have been very quick to get used to it. They are about the size of a cigarette packet and record in colour and with sounds.
“They are used in all cases where police approach a scene, and have been incredibly beneficial.
“It’s a new thing for police to remember to turn on the camera, but so far the feedback has been positive.”
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