Since only a few peer-reviewed randomized trials have examined the effectiveness of police body worn videos (BWVs) in reducing police use of force, the current study sought to replicate these studies, adding assaults against police officers as an additional outcome.
Using a prospective meta-analysis of multi-site, multi-national randomized controlled trials from 10 discrete tests with a total population of just over 2 million and 2.2 million police officer-hours, the study assessed the effect of BWVs on the rates of police use of force and assaults against officers. Averaged over 10 trials, BWVs had no effect on police use of force (d = 0.021; SE = 0.056; 95 percent CI: -0.089-0.130), but led to an increased rate of assaults against officers wearing cameras (d = 0.176; SE = 0.058; 95 percent CI: 0.061-0.290). Since there is evidence that BWVs may increase the risk of assaults against officers, more attention should be paid to how these devices are implemented. Likewise, since other public safety organizations are considering equipping their staff with BWVs (e.g. firefighters, private security, traffic wardens), the findings on risks associated with BWVs are transferrable to those occupations as well. (publisher abstract modified)