Should our Bobbies Follow the NYPD's Example and Begin Testing Google Glass?

By Jamie Condliffe on at

According to a report by VentureBeat, The New York City Police Department is currently investigating how useful Google Glass could be in the fight against the city's crime.

It's claimed that the department recently took delivery of several pairs of Google's smart glasses. "We signed up, got a few pairs of the Google glasses, and we're trying them out, seeing if they have any value in investigations, mostly for patrol purposes," a New York City law enforcement official told VentureBeat. "We're looking at them, you know, seeing how they work."

If it's true, it's no real surprise. Last summer, a federal judge ruled that New York City's "stop-and-frisk" violated the rights of minorities in the city. In her recommendations accompanying the ruling, Judge Shira Scheindlin ordered the NYPD to test wearable cameras in five precincts where the controversial search tactic was used. Google Glass could fill that role perfectly.

A Google employee told VentureBeat that the company hadn't been working with the NYPD, and said that the law enforcement agency had "likely acquired the glasses through the Google Glass Explorer programme."

Of course, whether each and every NYPD cop should be toting a camera on their face remains to be seen. Evidence from experiments in other parts of the country suggest cameras encourage police to behave better, as well as protecting them from fraudulent reports of abuse. Critics—including Mayor Mike Bloomberg—argue the data they collect will create an enforcement nightmare.

If our police forces here in the UK started testing or using glass, how would you feel about it? After the Mark Duggan case, there have been debates as to whether police personal cameras should be mandatory, so is there a viable place for Glass in the UK force – with all the capabilities it could bring? [VentureBeat]