‘Tipping the balance’ against domestic abuse

Stuart Lister, from the School's Centre for Criminal Justice Studies has led a piece of research, exploring the impacts of police use of body-worn video cameras at incidents of domestic abuse.

The study, which involved more than 50 detailed interviews with frontline officers from the West Yorkshire and Cumbria forces, revealed that the cameras were delivering evidence that officers believed had more impact.

Stuart said, “Officers told us that the videos had the potential to provide a more powerful picture about the impact of domestic abuse on victims. Footage would show if people had been injured, were distressed or if the home had been damaged. The study found there was a consensus among police officers and Crown Prosecution Service lawyers that the cameras captured valuable supporting evidence – and it was seen as having the greatest impact when it supplemented witness statements and forensic evidence. Many officers said that they were seeing cases that may not have progressed previously now going to court because of body-worn video.”

The study also highlighted problems with the use of body-worn cameras. Officers told the researchers that wearing a camera would sometimes deter victims and other witnesses like neighbours from talking to them because of fears that they would be identified, or that sometimes the cameras didn't work as intended.

A summary of the research findings is available from the N8 Policing Research Partnership, a collaboration between academics and the police with the aim of producing more effective policing.