School security to be enhanced with body cameras?
A report by the Times Education Supplement (TES) has detailed how teachers based at two schools in the UK are to begin a trial wearing body cameras in the classroom.
Early ideas into how the equipment could be implemented in the education sector have already been looked at by the pair of unnamed schools. One approach is that teachers would wear the cameras on their clothes and would always be filming. A switch would need to be activated for incidents to be recorded and encrypted footage saved.
Because of this, teachers making use of a body camera have been told that they should only switch their equipment to recording mode when they suspect that a ‘low-level’ incident is developing. Furthermore, teachers are also being made aware that they will be required to give notice ahead of making any recording.
Explaining the reasoning behind this idea, Tom Ellis, a principal lecturer at the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies at Portsmouth University, said:
“There’s very much an emphasis on getting rid of low-level disruption or disorder in the classroom.”
Schools across the US have previously implemented similar technology, while the concept has also been pioneered by two police forces based in the UK — as reported on in this SSAIB press release.
Focusing on the UK’s education sector, Mr Ellis believes that body cameras can act as a deterrent when used in the classroom. He explained:
“It can be used for self-reflection. It can be shown back to the pupil, one-on-one, and that can have a positive impact without the need to resort to disciplinary process.”
A TES poll of more than 600 teachers, which the Independent reported on, has shown plenty of further support for body cameras being used in the classroom.
The survey revealed that 37.7 per cent of respondents are in favour of body cameras in the classroom and around two-thirds are confident that the technology will help them feel safer within their working environment. 10.9 per cent went as far as to say that they believe they will be a time when the equipment becomes compulsory in schools.
While body cameras in the classroom may be a relatively new concept to the UK’s education scene, the following examples showcase that various CCTV systems have already been introduced successfully to schools across the country:
- Video Content Analysis systems, so that analysis of CCTV images can be carried out to provide meaningful information. For example…
– The identification of whether objects have been removed from a certain area of the school.
– The analysis of CCTV images in order to identify specific patterns, like smoke when addressing arson attacks.
– The ability to establish virtual tripwires that trigger an alert, should someone attempt to cross a specific boundary – eliminating the need to erect walls or fencing at these locations.
- CCTV in classrooms to address issues of bullying and also assist with teaching training — for the latter, this technology can be used as an alternative to having a teaching colleague present in the classroom throughout the entire lesson.
- Access control systems, such as those provided by award-winning security specialist 2020 Vision, that are specifically designed for educational establishments, so that security personnel can keep updated about who is in a facility once they have been added to turnstiles, gates and barriers.