Cameras worn by gardaí could help bring 'swifter, fairer justice for victims'

Garda delegates heard of the benefits UK police officers have seen since the introduction of body cameras

FOOTAGE FROM CAMERAS worn by gardaí could help in ensuring victims get proper justice in the courts in this country, a conference heard today.

Speaking to delegates at the Garda Representative Association (GRA) annual conference earlier, Inspector Stephen Goodier of Hampshire Constabulary spoke of the benefits UK police officers have seen since the introduction of body cameras.

It is estimated that some 56,000 frontline police officers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will have been issued with a camera by the end of the year.

dav Inspector Goodier at the GRA conference in Killarney earlier today. Michelle Hennessy / Michelle Hennessy / /

He said he believed the introduction of body cameras in An Garda Síochána could “enhance evidence gathering and bring swifter, fairer justice for victims”.

During his presentation, Goodier showed garda delegates some distressing footage of a domestic abuse call. In the video, the victim’s horrific injuries are clear and the actions and behaviour of her husband are recorded throughout the interaction with police.

OfficialHantsPolice / YouTube

This footage was used in court to help convict the man and he was sentenced to ten years in prison for assaulting his wife.

Goodier also gave an example of a female police officer who was knocked unconscious in an assault.

“Her head was repeatedly hit against the floor, she passed out and he ran off. He was later found and convicted.”

Again, the footage was shown in court and Goodier said the police officer was able to demonstrate that the “well-dressed individual presented in court that day” was not the same person as the man who attacked her.

It actually brings real life into the courtroom for the first time, so people can make some honest, sound judgement based on what real life policing is about

In this case, the man received a three year sentence.

Michelle Hennessy / Michelle Hennessy / /

The police inspector also pointed out that these cameras can be used as an “independent witness” in situations where an officer has been accused of wrongdoing.

“So, if I just showed you a police assault where a police officer has to use a high level of force, if I haven’t showed you the beginning of it, you could make an assessment that the police officer has just assaulted somebody.”

If I showed you the lead up to it, then you could put it into context,” he said.

Read: ‘You dirty tramp of a guard’: Shocking footage shows benefit of garda body cameras>

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