- The Hong Kong Police (HKP) is duty bound to prevent and detect crimes and offences as mandated by section 10 of the Police Force Ordinance, Chapter 232. To carry out this duty effectively, the HKP has been dedicated to continuous improvement in meeting our policing challenges. Technology is one of the areas that the HKP has been exploring to enhance police officers’ professional abilities.
- Since 2006, the Force has been using hand-held video recording devices to record incidents with law and order implications, for both investigation and evidential purposes. With technological advances, Body Worn Video Cameras (BWVCs) have become available and offer, in some circumstances, a potentially more practical choice for policing purposes given their size, convenience and ease of use.
- The HKP has conducted a feasibility study on the use of BWVC. Reference has been made to overseas experience, in which some police forces have been using BWVC with positive outcomes in terms of reduction of crime and complaints. The feasibility study has also examined comprehensively aspects of legality, privacy and personal data protection.
- With the introduction of BWVC, the HKP expects that a higher degree of transparency and accountability of police actions could also be achieved.
Second Stage of the Field Trial
- In order to assess the effectiveness of the use of BWVC, a 6-month first stage field trial was conducted between March and September 2013 with participation from Emergency Units of New Territories North and Kowloon West Regions and Police Tactical Unit of Hong Kong Island Region. HKP has conducted a review of the effectiveness of the BWVC. The review reflected that BWVC would facilitate police officers in exercising their duty of prevention and detection of crimes and offences in a more effective manner, as well as enhancing their operational efficiency and transparency in handling confrontational scenarios and incidents involving a breach of peace.
- During the first stage of the field trial, all cases with BWVC deployment were concluded and the associated footage had never been used in court for evidential purpose. Hence, the effectiveness of using footage captured with BWVCs as evidence in court has yet to be assessed. HKP considers that the field trial should be extended to other units to further assess the effectiveness of the use of BWVCs in different areas.
- HKP launched a one-year second stage field trial in June 2014. In addition to the original units of Emergency Units of New Territories North and Kowloon West Regions and Police Tactical Unit of Hong Kong Island Region, participation will be extended to various units including Emergency Units and Police Tactical Units of all Regions, as well as frontline operational units responsible for performing tasks of a similar nature, i.e. Quick Reaction Force of New Territories North Region and patrol cars of all Police Districts.
- Same as the first stage of the field trial, BWVC will continue to be used in confrontational scenarios during public order events and crime scenes, or incidents where a breach of the peace has occurred or is likely to occur. It will not be deployed for use in intimate searches, examination of materials with legal privilege, and for any other covert surveillance. It is not intended for the officers to use BWVC in private residential flats except where violence has occurred, or is about to occur.
- To better govern the use of BWVC, a refined set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) would be put in place. Any recording made by BWVC would be incident-specific. It would not be selective so that both the acts of members of the public and police officers may be captured. The officer using BWVC will be in uniform, overtly wear the camera as shown in the attached photographs, and where reasonably practicable, notify the person prior to the commencement of the recording.
Storage and Access to Data Collected
- The HKP, as a data user, will take all steps to comply with the requirements of Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (PDPO) when handling the collected personal data. Footage that does not carry any investigative or evidential value or constitute any other legitimate purpose, will be deleted after 31 days from the date it was produced. Any data access request shall be processed under the PDPO. Information relating to data access is available at this hyperlink:
Wearing of the Camera
Shoulder Adaptor Mounting
Camera Off Mode
Reflective Vest Mounting
Camera Off Mode
Camera On Mode
With Red Slide Switch down and screen on