West Midlands Police is the first force in the country to use the latest body worn camera live streaming technology, allowing officers to remotely view another officer’s body cam.
The new upgraded cameras from Axon mean that when they’re in record mode, anyone with a valid operational reason can see that footage in real time, giving officers greater protection and extra support.
The force has already been testing this in different scenarios to see if it improves how police officers deal with incidents and has received positive feedback. It has used live streaming at policing operations such as football matches and protests, and during pursuits with traffic officers.
Officers have said that the new live streaming function is helping them at incidents. They are able to get quicker instruction from supervision and commanding officers are able to deploy more resources faster if they can see a situation warrants it. The force has shared a video of how this works.
Chief Superintendent Ian Green who is featured in the video said, “This latest technology has many advantages, not least in increasing officer safety.
“It gives us a real time view of what officers are facing so we can deploy assistance where needed, or advise officers at scenes on preserving evidence or dealing with someone in mental health crisis.
“We are able to map every officer with a camera and see which ones are recording, but there are strict rules that we will adhere to when choosing to live stream. The system is completely auditable and will be monitored for any unauthorised use.
“We’ve been consulting with our communities and partners so they are fully aware of us now having the ability to live stream in public areas. We have carried out extensive consultation and over 90 per cent of people told us they strongly agreed with us being able to use this new function.”
The new cameras will be used by public facing officers, but will not be seen as a replacement for attending scenes and at this stage it will not be used for any independent scrutiny around use of force or stop and search.