Claims of improper service and safety concerns are just some of issues Process Servers deal with on a daily basis. There are measures that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of problems like these arising, including completion of accurate affidavits, but there is still always a high chance of complications. The requirement for all Process servers to be equipped with Body cameras is something that is frequently discussed in the private investigation world, and something we have been considering for a while, therefore felt it would be a good time to consider the pros and cons of body cameras for Process Servers:
Body Camera Pro’s
Confirmation of service
If evidence is filmed it is very hard for the defendant to claim that papers were not served. Should an individual claim that documents were not served or that service was improper, a body camera can support the Process Server’s work. Validated video footage can be used as proof in helping the judicial system reduce the number of false declarations about the service never taking place and claims of improper service.
Cameras have been found to deter aggression. When members of the public know they are being recorded they may be more reluctant to use threatening or malicious behaviour.
Evidence against acts of violence
If the body camera doesn’t act a deterrent to an angry and aggressive individual, the video evidence may help the Process Server when claiming threats or violence against them.
Reassurance to clients
The extra precaution of a Body camera can help ensure a successful service to clients. Video proof can be used to offer confidence in a legal case, particularly if dealing with a difficult defendant.
Body Camera Cons
The cameras should be used for professional use and only watched and evidenced if the service was contested or bad behaviour had taken place. Care of footage should be taken to protect integrity and respect privacy of the individuals involved.
Privacy & Video Recording Laws
As with all surveillance technologies, those using body cams need to abide by the Data Protection Act. You must ensure all data is encrypted and that the cameras comply with GDPR, which requires the processing of personal data to be lawful, fair and transparent.
Any act of storage or access is considered processing and it is imperative that care is taken to uphold the confidentiality and integrity of any footage. Footage should be securely stored and encrypted.
Refusal to be Recorded
Not everyone will be happy to be filmed and may shy away from the camera, making process serving extremely difficult. People may be concerned that the footage may be leaked or feel it is an invasion of their privacy. It could also provoke negative or aggressive behaviour if the defendant is opposed to being recorded.
Our final thoughts
There are advantages and disadvantages to using body cameras, but there is no denying they are becoming increasingly popular, especially within the security sector. They have proven to help deter bad behaviour, and have been essential evidence in many legal cases. However we can’t ignore the negatives, such as an invasion of privacy, improper use and the high costs and implications of storing and managing the footage. Body cameras are a growing part of the security sector and something we’ll be keenly monitoring over the next few years.