Croydon cops among first in London to trial body-worn cameras
Croydon cops will be wearing video cameras to record evidence of violent crimes after being chosen as one of boroughs to trial the technology.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Howe predicts one of the benefits of officers wearing body-worn cameras will be speedier justice for victims.
GBH incident shows a person involved in stabbing admitting to the offence. He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment
The footage can be used as evidence in court if the offender does not plead guilty when they know the offence has been captured on video.
The Commissioner said: “Body-worn video will not only help us fight crime and support victims but help the Met to be more accountable.
“Our experience of using cameras already shows that people are more likely to plead guilty when they know we have captured the incident.
“That speeds up justice, puts offenders behind bars more quickly and protects potential victims.
“Video captures events in a way that can’t be represented on paper in the same detail and it has been shown the mere presence of this type of video can often defuse potentially violent situations without the need for force to be used.
“I believe it will also show our officers at their best, dealing with difficult and dangerous situations every day but it will also provide clearer evidence when its been alleged that we got things wrong.
“That has to be in both our own and the public’s interest.”
Officers taking part in the trial have been given guidance about when cameras are to be used.
They will routinely collect evidence in incidents such as domestic abuse and public order but also for potentially contentious interactions such as the use of stop and search.
The cameras will not be permanently switched on but, when they are, members of the public will be told as soon as is practical that they are being recorded.
The pilot is thought to be the largest in the world with 500 cameras in use across London for a year.
Two response teams on each borough will wear the cameras as they answer 999 calls.
Firearms officers will also be trying out the cameras in their training scenarios to see if they can use them when on operations.
After the year is up the findings of the pilot will be assessed by the Mayor's Office for Policing And Crime and the College of Policing before any decision about a future roll-out is made.
The other boroughs taking part in the trial are Barnet, Bexley, Bromley, Brent, Camden, Ealing, Havering, Hillingdon and Lewisham.
The camera chosen for the pilot is called the Axon Body Camera manufactured by TSR.
It will be attached to the officer’s body armour and is switched on by either pressing a button on the body of the camera or by sliding a switch across the top.
When it is on a red “flash” appears.
Officers will “dock” the camera at the end of each shift and upload the material to a cloud-based server.
The images will be deleted after 31 days unless required for evidential purposes.
The National Policing lead for body-worn video, Hampshire Chief Constable Andy Marsh, said: “Body-worn video has the potential to transform policing.
“The trial by the Met is the first study of its kind in the UK and has the potential to improve the quantity and quality of evidence that officers are able to capture at the scene of a crime, the transparency of their decision-making and the way officers and the public interact.”
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