Finnish police to launch body cam use throughout country

According to the police, the use of body cams will be open and transparent.

Body cams have been used in Helsinki and Eastern Uusimaa on a pilot basis for several years. Image: Berislav Jurišić / Yle

Police will begin using wearable cameras throughout Finland this spring.

Up until now, body cams have only been used by police forces in Helsinki and Eastern Uusimaa on a trial basis. Now their use will be expanded to all police stations, as the experience gained so far has been good.

According to a police statement on Wednesday, the use of body cams will be open and transparent. When the devices are on, this will be clearly visible and any possible subjects will be informed of this whenever possible.

"The purpose of using the devices is to obtain the same information that police acquire through their own sensory observations," Deputy National Police Commissioner Sanna Heikinheimo said in a statement.

Not everything recorded by police will be stored in department records, only information that is deemed relevant and necessary for police duties.

Data protection laws may need update

Heikinheimo noted that the expanded use of body-worn cameras may also highlight the need to revise legislation.

"Recording police activities with a technical device and making extensive use of the information obtained are important issues from the standpoint of data protection. For example, the possibilities of using facial recognition technology should be clarified as the opportunities for collecting observations become more common in policing," Heikinheimo said.

The limited use of body cameras was first announced in early 2018.