Body Camera Usage in the Security Industry

It’s no exaggeration to say that body worn cameras (BWCs) are having a profound effect on the security industry. Some may even couch this effect in terms such as ‘revolutionary’ or ‘transformative’. On the surface of things, BWCs would appear to be very useful; offering incontrovertible evidence of crimes being committed, exonerating security operatives and, perhaps most importantly, acting as a deterrent to would-be troublemakers.

…But what does Britain’s security workforce really think of BWCs? Do they add extra hassle to an already difficult job? Does the added oversight help or hinder an operative in a tricky situation? And what of a patron’s right to privacy? How much is too much when it comes to surveillance?

More specifically, we wanted to see if the standards of training were high enough to accomplish the safe, widespread use of such potentially sensitive equipment, as well as find out if the average UK-based security operative has a good grasp of the regulations governing the use of BWCs and similar surveillance equipment.

To answer these questions (and a good deal more), we reached out to Britain’s licensed security personnel. Here, collated, examined, and contrasted with supplementary research, are the answers we received.

Table of Contents

Purpose & Scope of the Study

From the outset, this study had 4 principal aims. These were:

  • To gain a clear, working understanding of how UK-based security operatives on the front lines view BWCs and widespread BWC usage.
  • To ascertain whether security operatives are receiving an adequate level of training regarding the correct, safe, and legal operation of BWCs.
  • To examine GDPR regulations regarding the use of BWCs and discover if these are being properly adhered to.
  • To learn whether security operatives understand SIA regulations as they apply to BWC usage.

To promote the survey, we shared our questions via social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. The survey was conducted entirely online, with no respondents answering questions in person, over the phone, or via any other method.

We received 184 individual responses overall. Of these, a majority of 96.7% were active SIA license holders.

The licenses held were:

Of those who answered our questions, 82.1% used a BWC while at work.

Although 184 is a relatively small sample group for a nationwide survey, we feel it is big enough to gain at least a general idea of the overall opinions that operatives have towards BWCs. The majority of those who spoke to us are SIA licensed door supervisors, presently active in the security industry, and currently using BWCs in a professional capacity. This makes their opinions not only valid individually, but potentially representative of the entire industry.

As always, we would like to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to everyone who took part in our survey. We understand and appreciate that you work hard and that your time is precious, and we will, as always, endeavour to use the information we receive to benefit both the security industry as well as working conditions within it.

Questions Asked

The questions we asked were as follows:

  1. Do you hold an active SIA license?
  2. Which SIA license(s) do you hold?
  3. Do you use a BWC while at work?
  4. Do you find BWCs to be a good deterrent?
  5. Have you been trained to use a BWC?
  6. If so, please give the training a rating out of 10 (10 being the highest).
  7. In what capacity do you use your BWC?
  8. How often do you press record on your BWC?
  9. Do you tell people when you’re starting to record?
  10. Do you understand the SIA rules about watching BWC footage?
  11. Do you know the GDPR rules about watching BWC footage?
  12. Is your BWC a standalone unit or part of a larger system?
  13.  If police or management asked to see your BWC footage, would you let them watch it?

As usual, some questions were presented as multiple choice, while others allowed respondents to answer in detail and, crucially, using their own words to articulate their experience.

As always, we trust that our respondents answered all questions honestly and factually, according to their own experience and individual perspectives.

Key Findings

As we will demonstrate, we learned a lot from this study. Our key findings, however, were that:

  • Most UK-based security operatives (82.1%) now use BWCs at work.
  • Most UK-based security operatives (79.5%) regard BWCs as a useful and effective deterrent.
  • Only slightly more than half (52%) have had any specialist training regarding the use of BWCs.


We learned a lot more than this, however. Read on for a more complete, detailed analysis of the data.

Are BWCs an Effective Deterrent?

The most pertinent piece of information to obtain, in our view, was whether BWCs are as useful in practice as they are purported to be. Outfitting a team of security operatives with specialist body camera equipment, before training them in its usage, is an expensive prospect for any business or individual.

Of course, if the use of BWCs can be proven to significantly lower incidents of criminal behaviour and thus help keep operatives, staff members, and patrons safe, then this would be money well spent.

We asked if our respondents found BWCs to be an effective deterrent, and the answers were overwhelmingly positive. 79.5% of our respondents stated that they believe the presence of BWCs helps to prevent incidents of violence, crime, or anti-social behaviour in their pub, club, or venue.

It isn’t just security operatives, either. A recent study conducted by the University of Cambridge found that police officers who used BWCs had seen complaints against them drop by an astonishing 93%.

According to the study, which was conducted across 7 different locations in the UK, including the Midlands and Californian Coast, police without BWCs experienced an average of 1.2 complaints per officer. After being equipped with BWCs, however, this fell to just 0.08 complaints, a reduction of 93%.

According to another study, this time conducted by London Metropolitan University with Liverpool John Moores University (and including areas of both the UK and US), prior to being equipped with BWCs, police officers maintained a healthy scepticism, with 42.8% of the study’s respondents expressing doubt that the presence of a camera would improve the behaviour of the public. This number subsequently dropped to 27.5% after the cameras were used, showing that opinions had shifted in a more positive direction.

The majority of those who offered ‘somewhat disagree’ as their answer prior to using the BWCs had shifted their position to ‘neither agree nor disagree’, perhaps indicating that prolonged usage may continue this upward trend.

The American results have also been positive, with California’s Rialto police department finding a 59% reduction in ‘use-of-force incidents’ during a BWC trial. The police department also experienced a drastic reduction in citizen complaints. In fact, during the study, only 3 complaints were filed.

Returning to our own study, one respondent told us that BWCs made a big difference when they were working in High Court Enforcement.

Another told us that when a patron becomes aware of the camera’s presence, they will usually cease lying and admit the truth, but also that there is often not enough time to activate the camera, meaning that the operatives sometimes have had to ‘bluff’ while wearing their BWC, because, as the respondent put it,

“The situation has occurred so quickly that I have had to react quickly to protect my clients. I have not had the opportunity to activate my BWC”.

Nevertheless, it seems fair to say that, based on data accumulated from multiple sources, including first-hand accounts from Britain’s security workforce, BWCs are at least partially effective as a deterrent.

BWC Training

Despite more than 80% of our respondents using BWCs at work, only 52.3% admitted to having received any formal training in their usage. This is an alarming statistic. 

When asked to rate the standards of said training, the answers given by our respondents was somewhat varied. While the highest percentage (22.1%) of respondents rated their training very highly (offering a perfect 10/10 score), 11.5% gave it 9/10, 15.9% awarded it 8/10, and 13.3% said 7/10, 11.5% considered the training inadequate enough to award it only 1/10. Following this, 1.8% offered a rating of 2/10, and 0.9% rated it 3/10.

Unsurprisingly, the middle ground (5/10) proved to be quite popular, with 14.2% of votes.

To better examine these findings, we took the 5/10 (‘average’) rating out of the equation and added up the lowest ratings (those who gave 1 – 4/10), as well as the highest (6 – 10/10) to see which was more popular.

Using this method, we can say that while 17.7% of our respondents felt that their training was less than adequate, a healthy 68.1% considered their training to be better than adequate, with a majority of nearly half (49.5%) offering ratings between 8 and 10/10.

From this, we can assert that, while there is room for improvement, the standard of BWC training among security operatives in the UK is generally good.

The bigger issue, then, is the fact that 47.7% of our respondents aren’t trained at all in the use of BWCs. This invites several problems that we will attempt to examine as the study continues.

It now becomes clear that proper BWC training should cover more than the basics for activation and use. When and where to activate surveillance equipment is at least as important as how to activate it.

Lack of training (or inadequate training) allows for a proliferation of simple errors, such as the mistaken belief that the camera is actively recording when it, in fact, is not, capturing still images instead of footage, failing to activate the PIR mode (when the camera is set to ‘manual’ mode) and other issues, all of which can lead to footage not being taken, key evidence being lost, and time wasted. Improper camera setups can also lead to the damage of equipment, something that may end up costing the operatives in question a lot of money.

This is to say nothing of the privacy laws and professional guidelines that an operative may unknowingly circumvent or violate if they are not properly educated on them. This can put not only the operative’s livelihood, but also the very existence of their firm or venue in unnecessary jeopardy.

One possible reason for the lack of training might be a lack of training options in general. Sadly, if this is the case for some organisations/venues, there isn’t much that can easily be done about it. In such cases, we recommend operatives visit online tutorials, as well as learning as much as possible from colleagues who have experience with the technology.

One training method that can be very effective involves simply reviewing existing footage from previous instances (legally, of course) with a team of operatives. This allows them to see what the footage looks like, and to critique it, avoiding the same mistakes when taking their own footage and enabling them to gather evidence more effectively. We would recommend this approach, especially to those operatives who have not received any formal training.

How & When BWCs are used

BWCs have a variety of applications for security work. They can be used to gather evidence against patrons or members of the public who are engaged in criminal activity. They can be used to exonerate (or incriminate) operatives who are accused of wrongdoing (for example, violating reasonable force laws, or applying personal bias to patrons). They can deter would-be troublemakers before trouble begins in earnest. They can be a great tool for encouraging unruly patrons to leave voluntarily, without being escorted or ejected from the premises. They can also be a great resource for training (or re-training) operatives. They can monitor suspicious activity, and they can provide a record of interactions with the public, both positive and negative.

Police around the world use BWCs for largely the same reasons. It is police procedure to begin recording at the start of an encounter with a suspect or other member of the public, and to continue to record until it is no longer necessary to do so, or until another surveillance system takes over. The same guidelines also apply to security operatives.

We asked our respondents in what capacity they used their BWCs. Their answers were as follows.

  • 36.9% used BWCs to capture evidence of criminal activity (or other disturbances).
  • 20.2% used BWCs to gather evidence for the police.
  • 16.7% used BWCs to record their interactions with patrons/the public.
  • 8.3% used BWCs to monitor people who were acting suspiciously.
  • ·  17.9% used BWCs for other reasons, including as a visual deterrent, building and incident inspections, as well as ‘all of the above’.

The data demonstrates that operatives are using BWCs for multiple purposes. This is unsurprising for the most part, especially ‘capturing evidence’ being the most popular answer.

We also asked our respondents how regularly they used their BWC on an average shift.

  • 20.2% said 3.5 times a shift.
  • 17.3% said 1 or 2 times a shift.
  • 16.8% said less than 1 time per shift.
  • 16.2% said ‘all the time’ (implying that the body camera is used regularly enough that the operatives lose track of how often it’s activated).
  • 13.3% said they never use a BWC.
  • 12.7% said 5 – 9 times a shift.
  • 3.5% said 10 times or more per shift.

The data clearly demonstrates that security operatives are using BWCs on a regular basis, and for a variety of reasons. The amount that BWCs are being used appears to vary considerably among our respondents, but this is probably in line with factors such as how busy the venue is, and established policies and working practices of the firms/venue management, coupled with nights worked, levels of crime and civil unrest in the local area (likely affected by the perceived presence or absence of police), as well as how long the BWCs have been in use (if patrons are aware of their presence, the ‘deterrent factor’ discussed earlier should become more apparent).

BWCs are also very useful for lone workers. Not only for the reasons described above (acting as a deterrent, evidence gathering, etc), but also for the extra layer of protection they provide. Lone security work, often undertaken in remote places, is undeniably hazardous. The prospect of footage being streamed to a control centre in real time has a lot of potential, offering not only key evidence of a situation as it develops, but also giving colleagues the opportunity to alert the authorities quickly in the case of a serious issue (such as a medical issue or incident or crime of violence).

BWCs are also far better for evidence gathering than most CCTV or eyewitness descriptions. Given the positioning of CCTV (usually attached above the patrons, to obtain the widest view possible), it can often be extremely difficult to clearly determine the identity of a person captured on camera. BWC footage, by comparison, will usually show the person’s face in detail (some BWCs even utilise facial recognition software), making people much easier to definitively identify.

Today’s troublemakers are adept at hiding themselves from cameras. Growing up in a country with one of highest levels of surveillance in the world, they know how to cover their heads and faces, how to wear nondescript clothing, and how to position themselves where cameras can’t see them. One of the first things an experienced criminal will do before committing a crime is take note of any visible surveillance. BWCs can really help in this regard, as the suspect is captured on camera very early in the proceedings, providing unarguable evidence that they were at least present when the crime occurred.

From these findings, we can say with a high degree of conviction that BWCs are being used regularly by those in the security industry, and that they are primarily being used for evidence gathering and/or to deter troublemakers. They are also being used in various other capacities, across multiple areas of security work.

Privacy, SIA & GDPR Rules

Although UK police were among the very first to use BWCs (holding trials as far back as 2005), and the country enforces strict legislation concerning privacy and data protection, there are not very many regulations that specifically apply to BWCs, or the footage captured by them.

It is therefore incumbent upon all security firms, venues, and other employers to create specific policies for the use of BWCs that adhere to any/all relevant laws, and respect people’s privacy, without impeding the use of the technology as both a deterrent and means of gathering evidence. We recommend using the Home Office guidelines (2018) as a basis for these policies, or else simply adopting them wholesale if no alterations are needed.

According to these guidelines, BWCs (unlike CCTV) are to be used on an ‘incident by incident’ basis and should not be used constantly as part of normal operations.

Police procedure also involves verbally informing the subject that they are being filmed or are about to be filmed. This is also good working practice for security operatives, especially as being filmed is apparently quite an effective deterrent.

We asked our respondents if they tell patrons when they are starting to record. 67.3% replied that they did, but, perhaps worryingly, 32.7% stated that they did not.

Giving the patron the opportunity to cease their activity is a key de-escalation strategy, and one that surely adds to the BWC as an effective tool for keeping the peace in a rowdy or crowded environment. The only time a patron should be filmed without warning is if there isn’t time to do so because the incident is already in progress.

CCTV signposting, which informs patrons that they are likely to be filmed while inside the venue could be considered to cover BWC footage as well. However, because the footage captured by BWCs is more detailed and taken from a closer angle, it therefore represents a potential data protection issue. Accordingly, we recommend using a separate sign (or an addition to the original sign) that informs patrons that BWCs will be in operation during their time at the venue. This way, while it is still proper working practice to verbally inform patrons that they are going to be filmed, if the patron is not informed verbally, they will still have been made aware by signage. This strategy may also add to the ‘deterrent factor’ described above.

We have covered the following information in greater detail elsewhere on this site, however, as it is also relevant here, we will briefly restate what British law says about filming and photographing the public.

According to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), it is legal for a member of the public to photograph or film people only if they are not the subject of the photograph or footage (the rules vary slightly for film, television, and other productions). Ergo, if a person takes a photo of their local park on a Sunday afternoon, they have not violated the rights to privacy of anybody who happens to be in the shot. If, however, they attempt to photograph one or more people specifically for any reason besides evidence gathering (without verbal or written consent), they are in violation of UK privacy laws.

Privacy becomes a more serious legal issue when a private citizen is photographed without their consent in a place where they can reasonably expect to experience privacy (for example, their home or property, a store changing room, or public toilet).

In all cases of privacy violation, the person in the photograph has the legal right to demand that the photos or footage be destroyed or deleted. To refuse this request violates the law.

This right does not apply, however, if the person being filmed has committed a crime, or is suspected of committing a crime. In these cases, the footage can be considered evidence, and should be handed to the police as soon as possible.

It is in this sense that BWCs may be used, even if consent is not given by the subject of the footage. So, if a patron is captured on camera committing an assault, they cannot ask that the footage be deleted, as it is now evidence of a crime.

Neither police officers, nor security operatives, have the right to confiscate camera equipment unless an individual is suspected of committing a crime with it (e.g., filming people without their consent) or the venue or premises forbids its use (something venues have the legal right to do). There is no law against members of the public filming police officers, however. Security operatives, being members of the public, could, in theory, ask for footage of themselves to be deleted, but only if it did not depict them involved in an illegal act.

We asked our respondents if they knew the GDPR rules regarding BWC usage. 81.9% told us that they did, while 18.1% revealed that they did not.

The GDPR rules may seem complex at first, but this is necessary in a world where filming takes place regularly, and for a multitude of reasons. Security footage, for example, is designed to protect people, property, and premises from theft, damage, or harm. The laws that govern it will therefore be different to, for example, a member of the public making a YouTube video, a production team filming a documentary, or a news crew covering a local event. Elsewhere, a tourist should have the freedom to photograph the sights they see on their travels, and day-trippers ought to be allowed to take ‘selfies’ without worrying about who is in the background of the image. The rules, essentially, are as clear as they can be, given how much photography and filming is taking place in this country every day.

Operating a BWC without a working knowledge of these rules is a form of professional negligence, and those who do so should seek additional training, advice from colleagues or should attempt to educate themselves immediately.

The Data Protection Act (2018) clearly states that individuals who are the subject of footage have the legal right to review said footage. This includes BWC footage. The process involves formally requesting to view the footage via the police, who legally must respond within a period of one month or less from the time of receipt.

The SIA rules build upon this approach. Playing back footage from a BWC requires the viewer to hold a CCTV operator’s license. You do not need a CCTV operator’s license to use a BWC, but you will need one to review the footage, for reasons of privacy, fair evidence gathering, and data protection.

We asked our respondents if they understood these rules. A healthy majority of 80.3% replied that they did, but 19.7% stated that they did not. This result might mean that the respondents in question genuinely did not understand that they are not legally permitted to review the footage they take, or it could mean that they disagreed with the law in this case. In truth, both outcomes are possible.

Those who did not grasp the SIA rules are clearly in need of extra training, as they face the possibility of invalidating their own evidence at best and being prosecuted at worst. A clear, frank, and thorough explanation of why footage must not be reviewed by unlicensed personnel should be a part of any/all BWC training.

As for those who may disagree, that is a matter of personal perspective, but whatever that perspective may be, the law is clear and unequivocal on the subject.

Personal privacy (in particular, the right of every British citizen to have it) is an important part of our society, and most other societies around the world. A healthy respect for the rights and freedoms of the individual is one of the most cherished and vital components of any functioning Democracy. We would caution any person who sought to invalidate or dismiss this notion to consider the consequences seriously before doing so.

Ownership of BWCs

At present, ownership of footage is a slightly muddy issue. In cases where the BWC being used is the property of a security operative, and not the company or venue they work for, this becomes especially tricky to navigate, as the potential for evidence tampering and data protection/privacy violations becomes, in our view, altogether too high.

A freelance operative who works for multiple employers may use their own BWC, keeping it with the rest of their tools (stab vest, boots, torch, Hi vis Jackets etc) and using it only for work. Then again, they might take it out on the weekends and use it to film their activities (BWCs and head-mounted cameras are regularly used to film extreme sports and other leisure activities). This represents a big problem. Footage may be accidentally deleted, the camera may become damaged, or the footage may be viewed by an unlicensed third party.

More damningly, if a patron files a complaint (or even assault charges) against an operative, and the operative has exclusive access to the footage that proves or disproves these claims, this creates a desperately problematic conflict of interests that could have serious repercussions for all parties involved, including the venue and/or security firm.

As a result, we strongly advise that venues or management should take ownership of any BWCs used by their employees, together with all footage taken by them, similarly to how most venues or firms take responsibility for the two-way radios their operatives use.

Security companies should own and dock all BWCs whenever they aren’t in use, offering footage to the police where appropriate and deleting all unused footage within the requisite time (in the UK, this period is around 30 days). If this practice became standardised, it would help to crack down on unauthorised parties viewing sensitive footage and (what could potentially be) regular data protection breaches.

According to our study, 56.3% owned their own cameras, while only 43.8% used cameras that were part of a group. Although we believe in the basic trustworthiness of the UK’s security operatives, this finding presents any number of potential ethical and legal problems, some of which have been established above.

Confirming that our faith in the UK’s security operatives is not misplaced, 70.3% of our respondents stated that they would, if asked, turn their BWC footage over to the police, while 24% answered ‘maybe’.

However, 5.7% of respondents replied that they would refuse to let police review their footage if it was requested of them. This is very concerning, and this number, together with the 24% who remained ambiguous on the subject, helps validate our assertion that all BWCs used in a professional context should be owned and operated by the venues or security firms, and that only licensed personnel should have the opportunity to view BWC footage.

Police in Scotland have reported a major increase in ‘guilty’ pleas (39%) thanks to BWCs capturing clear, unarguable evidence of events as they took place. BWC footage can be profoundly useful when it comes to gathering evidence and gaining a conviction, offering justice for the victims of crime, and making streets, venues, and premises safer for security operatives (something that is sorely needed). This positive effect will increase if positive steps are taken to secure footage and ensure that it can be made available to the right people when it is needed.

Have you Used a BWC to Prove Yourself Right?

Every aspect of widespread BWC usage across the security industry is important, from the privacy issues raised by it, to the standards of training in BWC usage, and onwards to ownership of equipment, potential data protection breaches, and what may be considered a deficiency of regulations and proper working practice. However, the aspect of BWC usage that most directly affects the individuals that make up Britain’s security workforce is the opportunity to produce clear, unambiguous evidence of events as they happen.

For years, patrons have accused operatives of using excessive force. Sometimes, this stems from bitterness on the part of a disgruntled patron who is trying to cause trouble for the operative that removed them from the building. Sometimes, the patron was in an advanced state of inebriation and does not accurately recall the incident, and sometimes, it’s a legitimate grievance, and represents malpractice on the part of the operative.

Before BWCs were as prevalent as they are today, it was often very difficult to get to the truth in such cases. There were likely instances wherein members of a security team covered for a colleague they knew to be guilty, just as there were certainly lies told by patrons to either ‘save face’ themselves, avoid legal trouble, or simply to make the operatives look bad.

Perhaps the biggest positive aspect of BWCs, then, is that they recall events accurately. Therefore, if an operative is using excessive force, the camera will probably show this. Likewise, if a patron is presenting a credible threat, the camera will likely show this as well.

We asked our respondents if they had ever used BWC footage or evidence to refute false claims or complaints made about them by patrons. What follows are some of the answers we received.

One respondent told us that they had a patron prosecuted for assault against them thanks to BWC evidence. The patron in question was allowing his underage son to drink alcohol. The respondent ejected both the patron and his son from the premises for this, whereupon the patron assaulted the operative physically. The operative’s BWC footage offered incontrovertible proof of these events, and the aggressive patron was successfully prosecuted for assault.

Another respondent told us,

“I was assaulted by a male who claimed to have a knife in his possession and threatened to kill me. When the police arrived, he admitted hitting me but claimed I used excessive force in restraining him. He and his girlfriend claimed that he did not make any threats or [claim to have] a knife. I gave the police a copy of the footage which proved I was telling the truth”.

Another story we heard concerned a patron who claimed to have been assaulted by one of our respondents (a serious accusation). The operative in question was innocent of this accusation and informed the patron that they were wearing a BWC, which would show the truth. The patron obviously did not hear this and made a formal complaint about the ‘assault’. BWC footage was produced which revealed the patron’s lie, and the lying patron was permanently banned from the venue.

We heard many more stories, including the following,

“I had a bloke who punched a colleague and [then] started claiming [that] he was “non-violent” and “would never hurt a fly”. I got it all on my BWC. He ended up putting it on Facebook, saying we assaulted him and that he was going to press charges. He claimed it was “an absolute abuse of power”. Police reviewed my BWC (and CCTV) and basically laughed at him”.

One respondent detailed an incident with an unruly patron who accused the operative of “overreacting” by ejecting them. The operative then showed their line manager the footage of the patron’s prior behaviour (in the presence of the patron). The patron was then ejected with “no further argument”.

Another respondent, who provides security to a combined hotel and nightclub complex, told us,

“Our problems are [that] customers who use the hotel think that they have a right to behave in a certain way towards the door staff, just because they have purchased a room within the hotel. The BWCs aid us in the proof of behaviour and ejections of customers, as the club is also used by the local community. We have to deal with issues in hotel rooms and the nightclub and [must also] provide evidence of our conduct. Monday morning emails are always busy with incidents that are conflicting complaints from the customers and our [own] security reports. These are supported with camera footage [that] always disproves their allegations”.

One respondent noted that they have used BWC evidence “plenty of times” to prove themselves innocent of false claims or accusations of misconduct. They noted, however, that some patrons become more agitated if there is a camera present.

Another respondent, who works as a hospital security guard, told us that BWCs have become a key part of their team’s operating procedure, stating that

We turn [the BWCs] on whenever the patient gets into an argument or [becomes] aggressive. We tell them that they are being recorded and then it’s all uploaded to a secure unit”.

This approach can often calm stressful situations down before things escalate.

Finally, a respondent told us that they had even used their BWC footage to aid in the prosecution of murderers. The respondent,

“Gave a pub landlady and the police footage [of] an incident with a group that, 2 months later, murdered someone in the pub (when door staff weren’t on)”.

The footage showed that the killers were all friends, had visited the pub before, and were regular troublemakers there. This would likely have been useful evidence and could well have been used to aid in the conviction of the killers.

Not only do BWCs help Britain’s security operatives hold themselves to the highest standards, but they also help to ensure that violent, corrupt, or untrustworthy operatives are held accountable for their actions. More commonly, they also prevent disgruntled patrons from threatening operatives’ livelihoods with false accusations of assault or impropriety.

Accusing a security operative of assault is a serious action. For the operative, it can lead to loss of working opportunities and money, it can damage the reputation of their firm or employer, and it can lead to criminal charges being pressed against the operative, as well as their license being revoked. These are appropriate actions in cases wherein the operative is guilty, but our research suggests that most are innocent of these accusations. BWCs can help to prove an operative’s innocence in such cases, and this can only be a good thing.

As a final point, we firmly believe all venues should adopt a policy stating that patrons who are exposed by BWC footage as lying in an attempt to discredit a security operative should immediately receive lifetime bans from the venue, as well as prosecution where appropriate (wasting police time is a crime under the terms of the Criminal Law Act 1967).


Our research has demonstrated that BWC usage is rapidly becoming standard practice across the UK security industry, and that this is, broadly speaking, a positive development. The presence of BWCs in security holds operatives to the proper standards, discourages troublemakers, and reveals the truth of events in cases where accounts differ.

We have learned that most UK-based security operatives view BWCs in a positive light, and that many have found them useful in situations where the truth is contested.

Our findings also revealed that training, whilst usually adequate, is sometimes poorly executed (or not executed at all), and that a disquieting number of operatives who use BWCs do not understand their legal responsibilities whilst doing so.

Furthermore, we have highlighted the worrying likelihood that British citizens’ rights to privacy are being violated by unqualified people reviewing security camera footage, as well as other issues (such as refusal to share BWC evidence with police) that may arise from the operatives themselves (rather than management of their venue or firm) owning the camera equipment.

Once more, we feel it pertinent to state our belief that venues and firms should become more proactive regarding camera equipment, and that an argument can be made that they have a responsibility to do so under the terms of UK law.

Legally speaking, nobody without a CCTV operator’s license should be accessing or reviewing BWC footage, and no operative should be left in sole custody of their own footage. To do so invites controversy at best, and corruption at worst. BWCs are used to exonerate the innocent and prove the actions of the guilty – and security operatives should be no exception to this.

We also feel that BWC-specific amendments should be added to pre-existing legislation that governs the use of BWCs, CCTV and other security footage. For example, operatives should not be able to withhold video evidence from police.

Additionally, training in BWC usage should cover the ethics and legality of using BWCs in simple, accessible terms, and should not be said to be completed until the recipient can be shown to understand their legal requirements and responsibilities. No untrained operative should ever be allowed to use a BWC.

People’s rights to privacy must be better understood and respected by those using BWCs, as it is an issue that affects everybody’s basic human rights.

Once again, Britain’s security operatives have revealed themselves to be diligent, hardworking, and highly adaptive to new technologies and methods of working. Their honesty and dedication to the job has shone through in these answers, and we would like to once again thank them, very sincerely, for their time, generosity, and the benefit of their experience – all of which were essential to the conduction of this study.