Police will be able to capture potentially crucial video evidence on body-worn cameras without fear of breaking the law themselves under new legislation due in Victoria’s parliament.
The use of body-worn camera footage could currently constitute a surveillance offence if police were to “inadvertently record a private conversation”, the government said.
Legislation to be introduced on Tuesday will ensure police are not in breach of the current Surveillance Devices Act, Attorney General Martin Pakula said.
“There will be further legislation later in the year which goes to family violence in terms of being able to give direct evidence via body-worn cameras, but that is still under development,” Mr Pakula told reporters in Melbourne on Tuesday.
“The Royal Commission into Family Violence recommended that there be a trial of body-worn cameras by police … this legislation is the first step in making that a reality.”
The cameras will not only provide potential evidence but will also hold police to account, the government added.
Further legislation is expected to allow the footage to be tendered in court as evidence.
The final design of the cameras and the scope of their use is still yet to be fully decided but a trial is expected to begin in early 2018.