The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson (right), today (3 June) confirmed plans are underway to equip all neighbourhood and response officers across the Metropolitan police with Body Worn Video cameras, to help them fight crime and boost public confidence.
The move will make the new technology available to more officers in a single city than anywhere else in the world to date, with around 20,000 cameras arriving for the majority of uniformed officers in London by the end of March 2016.
The roll-out will follow a procurement and the completion of the Met’s formal trial ending this summer, which is the world’s largest. In trials the cameras have shown their potential to reduce complaints and increase the number of early guilty pleas, helping to speed up the justice process.
This investment puts London’s force at the forefront of innovative policing, and has been made possible with funds raised through the sale of underutilised police buildings. The top 10 sales alone, including the £370m disposal of the New Scotland Yard site in Victoria, have raised £661m so far for reinvestment in frontline policing.
The expansion of Body Worn Video cameras is supported by the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan Howe and welcomed by officers involved in the trial, which has been running since last year. To date, the trial has seen around 1000 body cameras used across 10 boroughs as well as armed response teams, with around 6000 videos uploaded per month.
Officers’ feedback suggests the devices are most valuable where trust is key and police behaviour is under scrutiny, for example in Stop and Search, and where early evidence and victim testimony is critical such as in cases of domestic abuse. The cameras are also helping to better demonstrate the impact of crime on victims, aid professional development and training, and to increase trust in officers.
The Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime will begin a procurement process for 20,000 new devices in the coming weeks, and this summer, MOPAC will lead a London-wide public engagement exercise to inform Londoners, explain how the technology works and where and when they might encounter it.
The London Policing Ethics Panel, chaired by Lord Carlile, has written to the Mayor setting out their intention to produce the UK’s first report into the ethical guidelines around how officers use the cameras, to be published in the autumn.
Speaking to the London Assembly, alongside the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said, “This is exciting technology that will build trust, help the police do their jobs, and allow the public to hold officers more accountable. Our plans for the roll-out of Body Worn Video will make the technology available to more officers in a single city than anywhere else in the world and is a giant step towards a truly 21st century police force for London.”
Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe (left) said, “I’m delighted that we will be able to press ahead with the roll-out of this technology. For too long our equipment has lagged behind the technology almost everyone has in their pockets to capture events as they unfold. Soon, more of our officers will be able to make a record of the very challenging circumstances they are asked to deal with on a daily basis and then demonstrate, more effectively, the reality of policing our capital. It will also improve public scrutiny of how we carry out our role. That is a vital part of being an accountable police officer. It is also an essential tool in gathering evidence of offences.”