Q&A: Transcription Manager Hayley Hathaway on transcribing bodycam footage

Body cameras are integral technology for capturing an event or incident in real time, usually worn by police officers or security personnel.

Footage can in turn be used to back up eyewitness accounts or submitted as evidence in a court of law.

Unlike a standard police interview, this type of recording can be fast-paced, unpredictable, and at times, difficult to decipher.

Transcribing this kind of evidence accurately ensures it is admissible in court.

UK supermarkets are now exploring the use of bodycams for employees, after findings from the British Retail Consortium revealed that abuse against staff has almost doubled since before the pandemic.

Transcription manager, Hayley Hathaway explains our approach to bodycam recordings, the importance of accuracy, and data security.


What type of footage do you usually work on?

“We mainly receive enquiries from solicitors in either family or criminal law, but we will work on anything that is being used as evidence.

“With the latest news about supermarkets introducing bodycams for employees, this is also something we assist with to ensure that the transcript is of evidential quality..”


What are the challenges of working with bodycam footage?

“The main challenges are the unpredictability of dialogue, issues with the volume of speakers, and identifying individuals. However, our team has extensive experience in dealing with these potential difficulties.

“Sometimes solicitors can provide us with context on who’s who, otherwise we will work to navigate this ourselves and may use labels such as ‘woman 1’ or ‘man 2’.

“During an active pursuit or a struggle, there’s often background noise and interference to contend with, which makes deciphering speech all the more challenging.   

“In cases of inaudible communication, there may be access to another bodycam video, which can help fill in the gaps.

“Beyond the challenges of the transcription work itself, we’re also dealing with sensitive situations, whether it’s a police response to a call about pet neglect, a domestic incident or even a suspicious death.

“We handle every piece of footage professionally and we are fortunate to have a supportive team that encourages an open dialogue about the content of a video, while upholding our high standards of confidentiality.”


How do you approach data security and bodycam transcriptions?

“Due to the contents of these recordings, we ensure that we have a secure cloud-based system, which is constantly reviewed, so we’re always committed to safeguarding client data.

“Police bodycam footage is integral for court proceedings and has the potential to offer clear evidence for both the defence and the prosecution. In some cases, it provides a live account of a crime and/or the aftermath, which further reinforces the need for a high level of security.”


Do you have anything else to add?  

“Historically, we didn’t have access to this kind of technology and officers would use a notepad and pen to ‘record’ a scene. Now there’s an opportunity to be even more accurate with real-time verification. 

“And playing a part in transforming footage into the written word and providing evidence for the court is something we take pride in.” 


Speak to the Apple team today to find out how they can support with bodycam videos.