Met begins body worn camera roll-out
Written by: Philip Mason | Published:

The Metropolitan Police has embarked on the first phase of its planned rolled-out of more than 22,000 body worn video units to frontline officers working across the capital.

The deployment, which got underway this week in Lewisham, follows a successful trial, as a well as a public consultation and input from academia. According to the Met, it will be the biggest use of the technology anywhere in the world.

Speaking of the cameras, which are manufactured by Axon, Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, said: "Body worn video will support our officers in the many challenging situations they have to deal with, at the same time as building the public's confidence.

"Our experience of using cameras already shows that people are more likely to plead guilty when they know we have captured the incident on a camera. That then speeds up justice, puts offenders behind bars more quickly and most importantly protects potential victims.

"Video captures events in a way that can't be represented on paper in the same detail. 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."

The Met will use the technology to gather evidence, with the cameras having already been successful in areas such as the prosecution of domestic abuse. They also offer greater transparency regarding the behavior of officers themselves, something which is particularly relevant following the recent national discussion about the use of stop and search.

Once the device has been docked, all footage is automatically uploaded to secure servers, before being flagged for use in court. Video not retained as evidence or for a policing purpose is automatically deleted within 31 days, with anyone appearing in the footage able to obtain it before then under freedom of information laws.

Axon was awarded the contract – worth £3.4 million – in November 2015.

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