Home News Body-worn video trials begin in four South London Boroughs

Body-worn video trials begin in four South London Boroughs

by Brian Sims

Police officers operating across four South London Boroughs have begun piloting new body-worn video cameras as part of an ongoing trial carried out by the Metropolitan Police Service. The London Boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Croydon and Lewisham are among ten that have been chosen to pilot the new video technology in the capital. This is thought to be the largest trial in the world to date involving the use of such technology by any police force. A total of 500 cameras will be distributed. The cameras have been arriving at the four London Boroughs over the past few weeks and, in due course, are being rolled out to officers on two 999 response teams at each Borough. The pilot will see some response team officers wearing the cameras and recording footage that can then be used as evidence in police investigations. Officers taking part have been given training and 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 like Stop and Search. The cameras will not be permanently switched on such that interactions with the public are not unnecessarily impeded, but members of the public will be informed as soon as it’s practicable to do so that they’re being recorded. Evaluation of the trials by MOPAC and the College of Policing The findings of the year-long pilot will be evaluated by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) and the College of Policing before any decision is taken regarding a future roll-out. This will tell the Met if the positive findings of the earlier trials are replicated on a large scale and provide valuable lessons on the best ways in which to take the technology forward. South London area commander Simon Letchford said:” There are some fantastic opportunities through technology to help us improve our policing service to Londoners, and I see body-worn video at the forefront of this. Video can show an event in a light that would be almost impossible to get across by simply writing it down on paper.” Letchford added:” We’re hoping the use of video will help us to increase confidence in the police service, allow us to secure better evidence and strengthen our fight against crime. We’re already seeing positive results where domestic abuse convictions have been secured thanks to video when it might not have been possible without that evidence being available.” In conclusion, Letchford stated:” Our experience in using cameras shows that people are more likely to plead guilty if they know there’s video evidence, which will also help to speed up the criminal justice system.”

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