The importance of body worn cameras in the workplace

South Africa has recently seen a huge spike in criminal behaviour. This has particularly been evidenced by the recent gender-based violence incidents, xenophobic attacks, looting and rioting. This spike has led many South African citizens to decide that they will no longer stand by silently with the belief that the time has come to fight back.

Many local communities within Johannesburg and other surrounding areas have started taking matters into their own hands by creating safety awareness groups. This stance of citizens taking responsibility for their own safety has trickled into various other areas of protection, both at the individual and at the organizational levels. More and more people are asking “how can we fight back against crime and what are the best methods available to us to protect ourselves and/or our companies?”.

“Today, South Africans have far more agency over their security than they have realised in the past. There are certainly ways to secure yourself against these threats and to ensure that perpetrators are caught,” explains Jacki Condon, Managing Director of Apache Security Services.

More and more South Africans are hiring security guards as an additional form of security to protect their homes, businesses and industrial/agricultural properties. However, the perception exists that the security guard may be in on the job or poses a risk of colluding with criminals. One of the methods to overcome this, as highlighted by Condon, is having security guards wear body worn cameras.

These cameras allow criminal culprits to be caught red handed, and recorded, which in turn aids in the process of apprehending and convicting the wrongdoers. While criminal activity can be caught on camera, these surveillance devices offer an added benefit; security guards wearing body worn cameras are aware that their conduct is being monitored, increasing productivity and limiting unsavoury behaviour. 

At an organisational level, security guards with body worn cameras help to reduce the threat of both external and internal threats. Internal theft and fraud are huge contributors to losses across the continent. Body worn cameras serve multiple purposes within this sphere such as eliminating the “he said, she said” and thereby equipping employers to take appropriate action. This, in turn, helps to improve health and safety compliance and maintenance.

Body worn cameras also aid in employee time tracking as employers can monitor if employees are sleeping on duty, while more closely evaluating when employees clock in and out. The reliability of incident reports is also improved.

There are a wide range of options and features of body worn cameras available. Condon advises that choosing the correct device for the correct function will further increase the efficacy of security service. “Knowing which devices to use and how to use them are vital for effective security management. For instance, while our officers are on duty, they are equipped with infrared night vision, 110-degree lenses, PTT radio integration, 16GB cameras, and 1080P videos. This ensures that they are able to effectively keep an eye on everything – even in the dark,” continues Condon.  “Body worn cameras have a wide range of benefits both for individuals and for businesses. To us, the greatest benefit is that body worn cameras helps to prevent collusion while maintaining the safety and security of the business, its assets and its staff,” concluded Condon.