Any Body Could Be Watching: Policing with Body Worn Video Cameras in the Canadian Prairies

  • Author / Creator
    Topinka, Neil B.
  • My thesis is concerned with how law enforcement officers make sense of and use the new visibility created by body worn video (BWV) and in-vehicle video (IVV) in the context of their work. The data comes from a case study of a small policing organization in the Canadian prairies. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews and observation. The study found that officers are generally proponents of the two video technologies, acknowledging that the benefits they provide are inextricably linked to certain difficulties and shortcomings. The benefits of video relate primarily to how it can support officer testimony while discrediting competing narratives; video can help dismiss unfounded complaints and charges against officers, and provide highly credible evidence for certain prosecutorial scenarios. Concerns that officers expressed about IVV and BWV relate to the amount of work required to maintain and use cameras to their greatest potential, the limitations of the technology to capture or convey important details, and the capacity to undermine officer testimony. This research suggests that the visibility generated by IVV and BWV and effects thereof arise through the interaction of organizational, legal, technological, and social factors.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2016
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Penney, Steven (Law)
    • Hogeveen, Bryan (Sociology)
    • Haggerty, Kevin (Sociology)