The Ethics of Police Body-Worn Cameras

Moral Philosophy and Politics 7 (1):97-121 (2020)
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Over the past decade, police departments in many countries have experimented with and increasingly adopted the use of police body-worn cameras. This article aims to examine the moral issues raised by the use of PBWCs, and to provide an overall assessment of the conditions under which the use of PBWCs is morally permissible. It first reviews the current evidence for the effects of using PBWCs. On the basis of this review the article sets out a teleological argument for the use of PBWCs. The final two sections of the article review two deontological objections to the use of PBWCs: the idea that use of PBWCs is based on or expresses disrespectful mistrust, and the idea that the use of PBWCs violates a right to privacy. The article argues that neither of these objections is persuasive, and concludes that we should conditionally accept and support the use of PBWCs.

Author's Profile

Frej Thomsen
Danish National Centre for Ethics


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