When all video all

When all video all

Footage of police officers hitting out at the G20 protests has dominated the news for the past fortnight. But what impact has the proliferation of cameras had on policing?

If there is one recurrent theme in the images of the recent G20 protests, it is what’s held in the hands raised in the air.

Hundreds of cameras rise out of every sea of protests. In the foreground are the digital SLRs and full-size video cameras of the professional media. But in the background there is a profusion of smaller devices.

They are in the background of shots of Nicola Fisher, struck in the leg with a baton, and of Alex Kinnane, hit in the face with a riot shield.

In a time of complaints about the surveillance society, cameras are being used by ordinary people to monitor the activities of those in authority. And the kernel of the idea goes back some years.

“It has been a topic among criminologists ever since the Rodney King incident,” says Prof Philip Stenning, a criminologist at Keele University. “It’s the first obvious example of how the police were brought to book as a result of a camera in the hands of a private citizen.”

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