Do police body cameras reduce complaints against the police?

Submitted by: Anonymous

There is no consensus in the literature on this question.
This short answer was generated by aggregating the answers that each of the 6 studies below gave to the question (as indicated by State of K members) and adjusting for source quality and other factors. If key studies are missing or the answers attributed to individual studies are incorrect, the above answer could be wrong.


Chart summary of 6 studies examining this question

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All labels of Literature Reviews and source quality are assigned by State of K. For academic journals, the label "Q[NUMBER]" is an indication of the quality of the publication. The "NUMBER" refer to the best quartile in which the journal appeared among all the subjects in which the journal was ranked by Scimago Institutions Rankings. For example, if a journal was ranked in the third quartile (Q3) in infectious diseases, but in the second quartile in Ebola studies (Q2), you would see "Q2". The best quartile is "Q1". Publications other than academic journals may be labeled as "Highly Regarded Sources". Government sources receive this label as do NGOs ranked by the TTCSP Global Go To Think Tank Index Reports. The information contained in a source that is labeled "highly regarded" or "Q1" is not necessarily more accurate than information contained in a source without that label, but these are rough guides to source quality.

Literature Reviews
Although we recommend you consider all of the studies below, we believe the following study is a literature review, which surveys and evaluates many studies on this question:

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
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SUMMARIES OF STUDIES
Total studies in list: 6
Sorted by publication year
1
AUTHORS
Jordan M. Hyatt
Federico del Castillo
Ricardo Fraiman
Maria Emilia Firpo
Barak Ariel
Renée J. Mitchell et al
PUBLISHED
2018 in Policing: An International Journal
UNRANKED SOURCE
Yes
Yes
2
Body-worn video: A systematic review of literature
"Law enforcement use of video-based technology has substantially increased over the past decade. This systematic review examines the current evidence base for efficacy of body-worn video and the current case for implementation. Five articles were identified as pertinent to this review from a search of five electronic databases, with a further six articles of grey literature included. Inter-rater reliability was high amongst three independent screeners of literature. Articles were short listed for review if they explicitly identified police and record-ing devices as topic areas. Articles were then excluded if they did not involve an operational trial of body-worn video. Eleven articles were included for review; of the five peer-reviewed studies, two were randomised controlled trials. An abundance of evidence was provided; however, the majority of articles were methodologically weak. Body-worn video was shown to reduce use of force incidents, crime rates for certain crime types and court costs. Public response to body-worn video was varied, as was police officer and public opinion. Due to methodological limitations evident in most studies and the general lack of peer-reviewed material, further research is required; however, there are some considerable benefits reported in the current literature"
AUTHORS
Robert Corry
Gemma L Myers
Rebecca Lesic
Timothy IC Cubitt
PUBLISHED
2017 in Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology
Q1: High quality source
Literature Review
Couldn't Identify
Couldn't Identify
3
AUTHORS
Jayne Sykes
Paul Drover
Josh Young
Darren Henstock
Alex Sutherland
Barak Ariel et al
PUBLISHED
2017 in Criminal Justice and Behavior
Q1: High quality source
Yes
Yes
4
AUTHORS
William Finn
Catherine Owens
PUBLISHED
2017 in Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice
UNRANKED SOURCE
Yes
Yes
5
Evaluating the impact of police officer body-worn cameras (BWCs) on response-to-resistance and serious external complaints: Evidence from the Orlando police department (OPD) experience utilizing a randomized controlled experiment
"Purpose: To evaluate the effect of police body-worn cameras (BWCs) on officers' response-to-resistance (R2R) incidents and serious external complaints.Methods: A randomized experiment was used where 46 officers were randomly assigned to wear BWCs and 43 officers were randomly assigned to not wear BWCs. Pre- and post-BWC implementation outcome data was compared both between and within groups.Results: The results suggest that BWCs are an effective tool to reduce R2R incidents and serious external complaints. Specifically, the prevalence of R2R incidents and the prevalence and frequency of serious external complaints were significantly less for officers randomly assigned to wear BWCs. Pre-post comparisons within groups demonstrated that the reduction in the prevalence of R2R incidents (53.4% reduction) and external complaints (65.4% reduction) were statistically significant for the officers who wore the BWCs, and significant reductions in the frequency of these outcomes were detected as well. Overwhelming agreement was also found among officers who wore the BWCs for the utility of BWCs to improve evidence collection and report writing and improve their behavior and police work in general by having the opportunity to review their own BWC videos.Conclusions: Police departments would be prudent to consider adopting these devices in their agencies."
AUTHORS
Lorie A. Fridell
Mathew D. Lynch
Wesley G. Jennings
PUBLISHED
2015 in Journal of Criminal Justice
Q1: High quality source
Yes
Yes
6
The Effect of Police Body-Worn Cameras on Use of Force and Citizens’ Complaints Against the Police: A Randomized Controlled Trial
"Police use-of-force continues to be a major source of international concern, inviting interest from academics and practitioners alike. Whether justified or unnecessary/excessive, the exercise of power by the police can potentially tarnish their relationship with the community. Police misconduct can translate into complaints against the police, which carry large economic and social costs. The question we try to answer is: do body-worn-cameras reduce the prevalence of use-of-force and/or citizens’ complaints against the police?MethodsWe empirically tested the use of body-worn-cameras by measuring the effect of videotaping police–public encounters on incidents of police use-of-force and complaints, in randomized-controlled settings. Over 12 months, we randomly-assigned officers to “experimental-shifts” during which they were equipped with body-worn HD cameras that recorded all contacts with the public and to “control-shifts” without the cameras (n = 988). We nominally defined use-of-force, both unnecessary/excessive and reasonable, as a non-desirable response in police–public encounters. We estimate the causal effect of the use of body-worn-videos on the two outcome variables using both between-group differences using a Poisson regression model as well as before-after estimates using interrupted time-series analyses.ResultsWe found that the likelihood of force being used in control conditions were roughly twice those in experimental conditions. Similarly, a pre/post analysis of use-of-force and complaints data also support this result: the number of complaints filed against officers dropped from 0.7 complaints per 1,000 contacts to 0.07 per 1,000 contacts. We discuss the findings in terms of theory, research methods, policy and future avenues of research on body-worn-videos."
AUTHORS
Alex Sutherland
William A. Farrar
Barak Ariel
PUBLISHED
2015 in Journal of Quantitative Criminology
Q1: High quality source
Yes
Yes







ADDITIONAL STUDIES TO CONSIDER ADDING TO LIST
State of K periodically recommends additional studies to add to this list, both newly published and newly discovered. There are none for now, but check back another time.


QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
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