The ‘bodycams’ are intended to help protect police against violent incidents and to document the behaviour of individuals subjected to a police check, Zurich city council said in a statement on Tuesday.
Police officers will not be able to film secretly but must tell the member of the public involved if they decide to switch on the camera – usually because they think the situation is likely to escalate physically or verbally.
Civilians can also ask for the camera to be switched on during a police check if they want the officer’s actions to be documented.
The behaviour of both the officers and the members of the public involved will then be “objectively assessed” before the images are automatically erased after 100 days.
Police work in the city has a certain “potential for conflict”, said the council.
While most police checks run smoothly, “in some cases there are criticisms and complaints about the city police. In addition police officers have been subjected to verbal and physical attacks for years,” it said.
The scheme is initially a two-year pilot, and a decision on whether the use of bodycams should be continued will be taken by Zurich city council at the end of that pilot period, it said.
According to news agencies the use of bodycams by police has been considered rejected elsewhere in the country, including the cantons of Vaud and Geneva.