Policing on camera article critique
In today's civilized society, those in power such as political figures, influential celebrities most importantly , the police are always looked up to behave in a manner that is becoming of their role in the society. Since the police are responsible for this role, finding a way of holding them responsible for their actions is particularly important. Today, one of the way that this is done is via police body cameras that record police while they are on duty. This is coupled with the a network of cameras and surveillance equipment that can at any one point record the activities of the police. The article "Policing on Camera" by Anjay Sandhu and Kevin Haggerty looks into the issue of policing on camera and seeks to answer questions regarding whether the policing under such constant scrutiny might lead to police accountability, the effect that cameras might have on police work.
When it comes to the officers with the orientation of being camera shy, these officers expressed anxieties about doing their work on camera. These are officers who went to considerable lengths not to be on camera including taking of their name tags or covering their faces with opaque objects during tumultuous occasions such as public riots. These officers indicated that working under the constant scrutiny of the camera increased to the pressure of the job and increased the chances of casting them in a negative light. In addition to this, camera shy officers indicated that in instances where the public was the source of surveillance, amateur video in most cases omitted vital components of the video (Sandhu & Haggerty, 2017). Ultimately, these officers did not see increased surveillance on police work as an improvement to police work in general but rather as a form of the society being politically correct.
There is some ambiguity as to the direction the study will take at the beginning of the article. The article begins with police brutality in the United States and the overall effect that police cameras had or would have had on the various situations. At this stage, the reader might think that the article will address the effect of police cameras on the police profession. However, it is not until further along that one realizes that the article focuses on how police feel about the increased surveillance on them. It would have been more effective if the article was straight forward and tackles the issue head-on, instead of trying to sensationalize the topic to engage the reader then pivoting to the main topic.
The purpose of the survey is to determine the effect of having the police wear cameras while conducting police business. The people who are served by the police can give a clear indication on how the police are performing and should therefore be included in the study. The study only includes policemen who wear cameras and are asked questions pertaining to their efficacy. This means they might be obliged to respond in a manner that paints them in a good light and this is exactly what the study indicates. For most of the respondents, regardless of their opinions regarding the increased surveillance, they portray themselves in a good light with well reasoned out answers pertaining to how positively, negatively or neutrally having body cameras affect them.
Another contentious issue with this study was the place that the study was conducted. In order to understand this, one must look to the beginning of the article. The researchers begin with examples instances of police brutality on African American males in different places within the United States. This gives the impression that the researchers want to investigate the effect of increased surveillance for the purposes of policing the police within the United States, however, the research is conducted within a metropolitan in Canada. None of the context that the researcher provides as the preamble to the study points to a problem with surveillance on the police in Canada and while the study yields interesting results pertaining to the same, the results in this study are not representative of the situation within the United States nor is the context given representative of Canada.
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