Pilot test of pedestrian cameras (bodycam) in the canton of Vaud and in the city of Lausanne.
Since 2018, the City of Lausanne and the University of Lausanne have launched an annual call for projects within the framework of the Interact platform, with an annual contribution of CHF 40,000 (€ 36’000) divided between several projects. The projects funded are carried out jointly by members of the two institutions and run for one calendar year.
Although the amounts granted are relatively modest, they can lead to concrete results that exceed expectations and evolve, as shown by the project "Pilot test of bodycams in the canton of Vaud and in the city of Lausanne", carried out by a researcher from UNIL in conjunction with the Lausanne Police. They were supported by Interact in 2019 to conduct a study on the implementation of bodycams on Lausanne police officers, and the final report was published in early 2021.
The pilot test was conducted over seven months with some twenty police officers from the canton of Vaud and the city of Lausanne. The UNIL researcher accompanied the project from a scientific point of view. The general objective was to complete the existing knowledge on the stakes and repercussions of the introduction of this technology in police work, and was broken down into three areas:
- De-escalation and prevention of violence against police officers
- Indisputable recording of facts and evidential value
- Evolution of the relationship between the police and the public
The results of the study are positive and have shown, among other things, that the bodycam contributes to the de-escalation of violence and the calming of physical or verbal aggression, without causing any major change in the daily work of police officers, nor overloading their administrative work. On the basis of these convincing results, recommendations were made for a broader deployment scenario to be studied by regional and local police forces.
The author of the study also includes sociological reflections on the place of information technology and the value of digital data in police work. Indeed, bodycams raise intense questions about the evolution of police/population relations and the meaning of the job for police officers.
This project is an exemplary case for Interact, where both the researcher and the administration benefit from the project: the researcher by contributing to the development of scientific knowledge on his subject and by obtaining privileged access to the field, while the police have gained an evaluation report that will enable them to make scientifically based decisions. Furthermore, it shows that a relatively small amount of money can have a triggering effect and help to start a project that can grow considerably in scope.
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