Master of Arts (MA)
Faculty of Human and Social Sciences
Dr. Carrie Sanders
Dr. Alana Saulnier
Body-worn camera (BWC) technology has gained traction in North American police services as a tool to enhance police transparency and accountability. To date, the research available on BWCs has focused on the impact BWCs have on police services, investigations, officer and citizen behaviour, and, police officers’ and community members’ attitudes towards BWCs (Lum et al., 2019). The vast majority of this existing research has been quantitative in nature and has been conducted in the United States, where police practices and policies differ from those in Canada. While there have been a number of pilot projects and research evaluations conducted on BWCs in Canada, there is still a great deal we do not know. Absent from much of the literature on BWCs is the impact the technology has on officers’ organizational stress and well-being. This is surprising considering that policing is identified as one of the most stressful occupations (Noblet et al., 2009). The present study seeks to address this gap in knowledge by conducting a qualitative analysis of a mid-size Canadian police service’s adoption and implementation of a BWC one-year pilot project. Through interviews with fifteen patrol officers, I examine how patrol officers’ ‘technological frames’ (Orlikowski and Gash, 1994) shape how officers have come to make sense of and use BWCs in their everyday practices. I argue that officers make sense of and use BWCs in line with traditional frontline policing technological frames. While most officers perceive positive outcomes of the technology for evidence and investigative purposes, they also perceive the technology to diminish their autonomy and negatively impact the ‘craft’ of policing. Further, drawing on organizational justice theory, with specific attention to the theoretical constructs of distributive justice, procedural justice and interactional justice, I explore how officers’ perceptions of BWCs may impact their overall stress and well-being. Specifically, I argue that BWCs can create stress for officers when they perceive BWCs as a form of injustice through the outcomes of BWCs (distributive justice), the protocols governing BWCs (procedural justice) and how they, as officers, are being treated by their service (interactional justice).
Doiron, Chelsea, "BODY-WORN CAMERAS AND ORGANIZATIONAL STRESS IN CANADIAN POLICING: A QUALITATIVE STUDY" (2021). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 2313.