Almost eight years after the first Hamburg police officers patrolled the Reeperbahn in St. Pauli with a bodycam, the Hanseatic city's police have now significantly expanded the use of bodycams. Instead of nine cameras, an additional 64 are now in use - and that in the entire city area. The police announced this on their Facebook page on Wednesday.
The police officially presented the 64 new bodycams last summer. At that time it was said that the cameras should be used at the eight regional police stations and police station 11 in the St. Georg district. A police spokesman said on Wednesday that "all organizational and legal requirements have been met" so that the cameras could actually be used. Among other things, the officers who carry the cameras had to be specially trained for this.
The cameras do not run continuously during operations, but are switched on when dangerous situations arise. Before the device is switched on, the officials must point this out. "Experience shows that the de-escalating effect is invaluable," the police wrote in their Facebook post. The BodyCams made "a valuable contribution to the security of our deployed police forces and uninvolved third parties".
All recordings would be automatically deleted after four days at the latest, unless they are required for criminal prosecution. "Thanks to a new IT infrastructure, any data storage, deletion or transmission can be carried out decentrally by the respective police station."
In 2015, Hamburg was one of the first federal states to test the body cameras in action. The technology was highly controversial, especially in the initial phase, partly because questions of data protection had not been clarified. Police departments in more and more federal states are now using this technology. But there are still critics.
Hamburg's police chief Ralf Martin Meyer had already announced the upgrade with bodycams in 2021. The 64 new cameras that have now been put into operation should only be a start.
After the riots on New Year's Eve 2022, the discussion about more video surveillance during operations flared up again. In an interview with the "Hamburger Morgenpost", Interior Senator Andy Grote announced that the fire brigade vehicles could possibly be equipped with cameras. "We will also examine the extent to which so-called dashcams in the fire department's emergency vehicles also provide better protection for the emergency services," Grote said in January.