In the last couple of years, local law enforcement officers in the municipality of Haarlemmermeer in The Netherlands (including Amsterdam Airport Schiphol) were seeing a growing number of threatening incidents while carrying out their duties. Which challenges did local law enforcement officers face and what was the solution?
The municipality of Haarlemmermeer has become more aggressive over the years, with more hostility and intimidation targeted at people in uniform. At Airport Schiphol, the activities of local law enforcement officers mainly center on targeting taxi hustlers, homeless people and ensuring traffic safety in the area surrounding the airport. Lately, they have also been tasked with ensuring corona regulations and restrictions are being upheld properly at the airport. Safety being of utmost importance for the municipality of Haarlemmermeer, the increasing occurrence of aggressive incidents was unacceptable. There was a need to improve the work safety of the local law enforcement officers, to reduce disruptive behaviour towards them and ensure safety for the community. Several incidents in which the use of physical force was present, were used to make a case for the pressing need to implement bodycams. The solution had to meet several challenging requirements:
The bodycams needed to be as straightforward and easy to use as possible
Bodycams needed to be able to take and save photos of images
Data safety was of utmost importance
The municipality of Haarlemmermeer chose the ZEPCAM T2+ solution. This is an endlessly scalable solution, consisting of hardware and software components. Users and bodycams can be added as you go without any limitations. The cameras are comfortable to wear and local law enforcement officers have found that they are easy to use. The excellent audio and image quality of ZEPCAM bodycams are also deemed to be very satisfactory. The docking stations are an important part of the solution. These enable not only the fast downloading of data, but they also regulate the amount of data that passes through the data network, ensuring that it can handle all of the information without affecting other systems negatively. The integrated approach of device and software allows for fast and easy video management and complies with all data safety standards. ZEPCAM also offers excellent customer support every step of the way, from setup, to training, to deployment.
After a pilot of 4 months, local law enforcement officers in the municipality of Haarlemmermeer were given the go-ahead to continue using bodycams. They have now been using bodycams for a year. Evaluations show that the results are positive. Bodycams have proven to have a genuinely positive impact on the feelings of safety of local law enforcement officers. In addition, there have been many cases where the use (or simply visual signaling) of the bodycam de-escalated situations, ensuring a safe environment for local law enforcement officers and the general public. If a situation did escalate, the ability to share bodycam images with the police or other instances, yielded beneficial results for all parties involved.
Local law enforcement officers in the municipality of Haarlemmermeer currently use bodycams daily and have gone from implementing 10 to 21 bodycams. Despite the fact that there are more cameras per square meter at Schiphol Airport than anywhere else in the Netherlands, bodycams prove to be very useful at the airport. The moment someone sees they might be filmed, they think twice before acting. Bodycams have proven highly effective in stopping transgressions both inside and directly outside the airport.
An important learning for local law enforcement officers is to think pragmatically about their approach . Each local law enforcement officer must maintain a critical attitude towards his own actions at all times. It’s imperative to always handle situations in a correct and polite manner. Before the use of bodycams, this was not always at the forefront of local law enforcement officers’ minds. The ability to record a situation helps local law enforcement officers realise that their behaviour must be perfect, as they learned in their professional training. As a result, local law enforcement officers currently operate in a more self-aware manner and consider situations from a broader professional angle.
The reputation of local law enforcement officers is steadily improving, which is largely thanks to their professional and correct handling of confrontations with others. Local law enforcement officers now consider bodycams part of their uniform and embrace the opportunity to evaluate and have discussions about certain situations. The goal is to keep getting better at handling and responding to incidents, should they arise.
Since 2009, ZEPCAM has been on a mission to make society safer. Today, over 500 customers in more than 40 countries use ZEPCAM professional bodycam solutions to protect and support their frontline professionals when it really matters. Comprising (live streaming) bodycams, a video management system and hosting solutions, ZEPCAM provides frontline professionals and their managers with the tools to do their work safely and gather evidence that will stand up in court.
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