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Bodycams to be used by Brussels police from September

Illustration picture shows a policeman wearing a 'body worn video' system in Brussels. (BELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM)
05:58 30/06/2021

Police officers from the Brussels-Capital-Ixelles area will use bodycams from September, a report revealed on Tuesday. The test project, which will see 231 cameras deployed, was approved by the municipal council of the City of Brussels on Monday.

After the one-year pilot phase, the use of these cameras will be evaluated, and it will then be decided whether more cameras will be bought and deployed on officers.

This test project was supposed to start in April but, due to delays, it was postponed until the beginning of the school year.

"The operational testing phase can now begin,” said a spokesperson for Brussels mayor Philippe Close. “In the first phase, a technical evaluation of the various cameras was carried out. On the basis of this, it was decided what types of bodycams would be purchased."

The decision to use body cameras as part of a test phase had been approved as early as January 2020 by the municipal council. The use of cameras has become one of the pillars of Brussels’ police policy since the turn of the year.

The test phase will determine whether the devices provide added value to officers in the context of their work during difficult or violent interventions. Just as anyone can now use a smartphone to film a situation, bodycams are being promoted as way for officers to provide additional means of proof and security in a bid to improve the relationship with the general public and rebuild trust.

Wearing a body camera is a voluntary option for officers, who may decide to record their intervention in order to give a clearer picture of events.

Written by Nick Amies