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Encountering camera surveillance and accountability at work – case study of the Swedish police

Conference paper
Authors Marie Eneman
Jan Ljungberg
Bertil Rolandsson
Dick Stenmark
Published in 23rd UK Academy for Information Systems International Conference Proceeding. Oxford, UK: 20-21 March 2018
Publisher Association for Information Systems
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Applied Information Technology (GU)
Department of Sociology and Work Science
Language en
Keywords Camera surveillance, body-worn cameras, affordance, accountability, Swedish police
Subject categories Law and Society, Sociology, Interaction Technologies, Information Systems, Social aspects


Today’s mobile cameras mean that anyone may easily be filmed and exposed to a wider audience meanwhile conducting their daily work. Police officers belong to an occupation that most frequently have to encounter this development. As state representatives, entitled to make use of violence at work, they end up being held accountable by a variety of actors capturing police initiatives on film. Police authorities around the world therefore have started to use body-worn cameras, aiming to enhance trust and transparency, but also as a means to control their work environment. On the one hand, cameras are described as a tool ensuring legal security and public trust in the police, on the other hand cameras are also associated with concern for surveillance and integrity. We intend, in this recently started study, to investigate what consequences this technology have on individual officers organising their own practices, and on the management of patrols wearing these cameras. The study is guided by the following questions: 1) What opportunities and challenges do individual officers associate with the introduction of cameras in their practice? 2) In what way is the use of cameras managed by the organisation, what tensions do they have to address between the individual officer’s practice, the management and the public? 3) What opportunities and challenges do the police associate with citizens using cameras to document the police? Theoretically the analysis draws on research on accountability, technological affordances and surveillance. Empirical material is planned to be collected through interviews, focus groups and document studies.

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