Body-worn cameras: determining the democratic habitus of policing.
AffiliationUniversity of Derby
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AbstractPurpose – This study advances our knowledge about the effectiveness of body-worn cameras (BWCs) through exploring the perceptions of English police officers in three principal areas: (i) positive perceptions, (ii) negative perceptions, and (iii) evidence-focused perceptions. In doing so, this study aims to shed new light on the democratising process in the habitus of policing. Design/methodology/approach – This study presents a novel dataset that evaluates the introduction of BWC to police officers in the East Midlands area of England. We conducted an extensive survey to explore the perceptions of 162 police officers about the BWCs. We examine our empirical data using Stata within the theoretical framework of Pierre Bourdieu concerning the concept of habitus. Findings – We have found that most police officers perceive that BWCs have a positive impact on policing practices and evidence collection. The positive perceptions and evidence-focused perceptions increase the importance of BWCs; however, there are also negative perceptions regarding effective policing, administrative functionality, and establishing a better relationship with the community. We argue that all three areas: (i) positive perceptions, (ii) negative perceptions and (iii) evidence-focused perceptions play a stimulating role to democratise the habitus of policing. On the other hand, BWCs do not guarantee the consolidation of democratic principles in the habitus of policing because of the authority of police to decide when, where, and how to use BWCs. Research limitations/implications – The research is limited to the perceptions of 162 police officers in East Midlands before they actually started using it. A future study to analyse their real-life experiences after using the BWCs may help us to compare their perceptions before using it with real-life experiences after BWCs are used. In addition, a comparative approach between countries in future research will help to explain the role of technological applications in different social geographies and legal systems Originality/value – This study offers new insights about the perceptions of police on BWCs before they started using them. We introduce the democratic habitus of policing as an innovative concept and explore power dynamics in the habitus of policing through BWCs. Our findings provide a strong empirical contribution to determine the conditions of democratic habitus of policing. In doing so, this study develops our theoretical knowledge about the habitus concept in sociology by employing BWCs in policing activities.
CitationCayli, B., Hargreaves, C. and Hodgson, P. (2018) "Body-worn cameras: determining the democratic habitus of policing", Safer Communities, 17 (4), pp.213-223. doi:10.1108/SC-03-2018-0008
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Limited