Policy, design and use of police-worn bodycameras in the Netherlands.

Tjerk Timan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


Police-worn bodycameras have been tested and deployed since 2009 in the Netherlands. They have been introduced after what were seen as positive results concerning bodycamera practices in the United Kingdom (UK). After a looming, almost silent introduction in the Netherlands, recent events have led these devices to gain momentum in certain countries, notably in the United States. In fact, as they are likely to become standard police equipment, bodycameras have sparked controversy and questions have been raised regarding their purpose and use. They are often introduced as a means to protect and safeguard police officers on duty insofar as they would be an objective witness to their actions, but worries are that the cameras will be used for other, notably surveilling, activities as well. This type of process – a (surveillance) technology is introduced for a certain purpose but in practice its purposes change and/or multiply. This chapter tries to show how this is taking place during different stages of the development - and testing of the camera.
As a part of a larger research project about surveillance in urban nightscapes, this article investigates the bodycamera in the context of surveillance practices in Dutch nightlife districts. It aims to understand how the bodycamera came to being in this specific context and how it is being used. As such, it not only retraces the development steps of the bodycamera, especially how certain functionalities have been inscribed by both policymakers and designers, but it also attends to use practices, wherein design and political choices made in earlier stages create ambiguity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnder Observation: The Interplay between eHealth and Surveillance.
PublisherSpringer Publishers
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2016


  • Bodycameras
  • Surveillance
  • privacy
  • RRI


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