In a world where every action taken by security officers must be carefully scrutinized, the importance of transparency and certainty cannot be overstated. One wrong decision can put organizations or individuals in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. The training and tools that enable security guards to effectively handle tense situations without the use of force and video documentation that allows for the rapid dismissal of false statements are essential for modern security practices. You need to be able to provide insight into situations as they happened and easily share that information with law enforcement or the public to dispel any false claims. Body-worn cameras allow security operations to gain a guard’s point of view on the ground that provides indisputable documentation of any critical encounter. Body cameras are mobile, greatly increasing the flexibility and efficiency of video coverage provided by fixed cameras. Adding a roaming first-person point of view provides better coverage, rapid deployment, better situational awareness, instant scalability, and audio recording.
Additionally, live streaming capabilities allow supervisors to monitor and triage tense situations even when they are not physically present. This situational awareness can also act as a force multiplier, enabling the most appropriate response in terms of whether or not to send reinforcements. GPS-enabled hardware enables management operating as incident commanders to ensure proper positioning of resources and adapt as needed, whether for an emergency or as a simple need to move personnel deployment in depending on the number of staff or the capacity of the facilities. It also solves the long-standing proof-of-presence challenge for widely dispersed security guard forces.
Whether it’s private security, healthcare security, event security, or corporate security, body-worn cameras are a proven de-escalation tool that promotes better behavior and reduces the likelihood of confrontations. Equipping officers with body cameras virtually eliminates the uncertainty that has traditionally arisen from security incidents or complaints, providing important protection against reputational risks. The body camera video also provides a training tool through real video scenarios.
Defuse tense situations
The presence of a body-worn camera can help defuse critical situations and get an ironclad account of the truth. Simply put, people who know they are being recorded tend to behave better and are much less likely to escalate situations they know are being captured on video. Whether it’s a security guard dealing with the public or responding to a dangerous situation, scenarios are less likely to escalate when a body camera is present. Studies carried out in several agencies have shown that from a 47% to 75% reduction in use of force when a body camera is present.
Reduction in complaints
Organizations that use body cameras to capture video data also increase their accountability and gain transparency in critical situations. Video documentation means there are no more “he said she said” situations and there is no more certainty about exactly what happened. Equally important, complaints drop significantly when a body-worn camera is present, as a significant number of complainants are less likely to file a complaint when they understand that their own behavior has been documented by video and audio.
In a health care study, for example, results showed that the transparency provided by body cameras was equivalent to $4 saved in litigation costs for every dollar spent on body-worn cameras.
Additionally, video documentation ensures there is verifiable evidence in the event of an audit or dispute. Connected body cameras require minimal training and automate data capture and upload. Aggregating important video, audio, image and text resources into a single incident management system simplifies the triage, management and sharing of data when the truth about a critical incident needs to be clarified. A video management system can also provide a chain of custody that ensures that all data shared with law enforcement or other agencies is completely trustworthy.
Video is an effective training tool for sharing best practices or dangerous mistakes made in real-life scenarios that can be used to train new employees more efficiently and quickly. It can also be used to improve employee skills and behaviors by viewing videos with staff for coaching purposes. Using real-life dating videos is one of the best tools available to train an entire staff to be safer, more empathetic, and effective in the field. Virtual reality training also allows staff to experience real-world scenarios in a risk-free environment.
For decades, body-worn cameras and video management systems have provided protection and transparency for some of the most critical interactions on earth. These solutions increase efficiency and provide peace of mind and reduced liability to ensure your business runs smoothly and your agents are as safe and efficient as possible.
Brian M. Stephens is the Senior Managing Director of Teneo Risk Advisory.