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Body cameras see drop in cop complaints

AAP logoAAP 22/07/2016 By Darren Cartwright

Excessive force complaints against Gold Coast police have almost halved since body cameras were introduced and a senior officer expects a statewide roll-out will have a similar effect.

South Eastern Region Assistant Commissioner Paul Codd says allegations against Gold Coast officers dropped from 153 in 2014-15 to 83 in the following 12 months when body cameras became part of their uniform.

The Queensland government will issue 2200 body cameras to frontline police across the state by Christmas in addition to the 500 service-issued cameras worn by Gold Coast's uniformed officers.

"There has been a 42 per cent reduction in complaints of inappropriate use of force against officers on the Gold Coast alone and that (body cameras) has got to be playing its part," Mr Codd told AAP.

"It's perhaps calming a member of the community or the offender and that de-escalates the situation."

He says body cameras will also assist with domestic violence (DV) cases and expedite investigations into police using excessive force.

Mr Codd said some DV victims are reluctant to file a complaint in the days after an incident but magistrates can now view real-time footage of a call-out to determine how dangerous a situation may be.

"Magistrates are accepting the video footage of police attending the scene when the event has happened, so the magistrate has a clear feeling of the violence and damage that might have occurred," he said.

The body cameras will expedite internal investigations because the footage is basically available as soon as an officer finishes their shift.

Mr Codd was not concerned that magistrates may refuse to allow footage of an incident to be shown, similar to a Sunshine Coast court matter in 2015.

Magistrate Rod Marsden refused to view CCTV footage of a violent attack because "I don't like watching videos, they can be very subjective. They become emotive. I rely on evidence ... facts".

Mr Codd said that was "the exception" and there were avenues to appeal such a decision.

Officers patrolling Brisbane's Fortitude Valley entertainment precinct will be the first to be issued with the new body cameras.

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