From Police Investigation to Court Verdict: Mass Video Surveillance for Criminal Justice Purposes

Research project
Active research
Project size
4083000 SEK
Project period
2023 - 2026
Project owner
University of Gothenburg

Swedish research council

Short description

This project provides knowledge about when and how recordings from surveillance cameras is used by Swedish police and courts to solve crimes. Based on observations of investigative work and interviews with police, prosecutors, lawyers, and judges, as well as observations of trials and analysis of verdicts, we produce knowledge about when and how recordings from surveillance cameras are used and made useful in the legal process.

The Swedish police and criminal justice system have been criticized for not solving enough crimes. Today, large resources are therefore being invested in camera surveillance – various types of fixed and mobile cameras including drones – to increase the ability of the entire criminal justice system to solve crimes. However, there is a lack of knowledge about when and how video recordings from surveillance cameras are used and useful to the justice system in solving crimes. Such knowledge is needed to determine whether the current expansion of camera surveillance in society is justifiable. In addition, the limits of mass surveillance also need to be identified, i.e., under what conditions and with what limitations surveillance of people in general is justifiable to solve crimes in democratic societies.

Based on our conclusions about the usefulness of video surveillance recordings for solving crimes and the existing legislation on civil rights and freedoms in democratic societies, we develop a theoretical framework to make it possible to determine when, under what conditions, and with what limitations, it is justifiable to use video surveillance of the public to investigate crimes and solve crimes.

Principal investigator: Cecilia Hansen Löfstrand
Project members: Christel Backman, GU; Corinna Kruse, Linköpings universitet
Partner: Linköping University