Hampshire is expected to be the first police force to kit out all frontline officers with body worn video cameras. Chief constable, Andy Marsh, said he was “‘absolutely confident” that the force would be “at the forefront of this technology for the public, to put them first and to do a good job for them”.

In 2006, police services in the UK partnered up with British technology company, Reveal Media to design “an independent witness” in the form of a forward facing video camera which would attach to police officers uniforms. Body worn video (BWV) cameras capture video and audio evidence from a first person perspective  which can later be used in court. Hampshire police and the Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Hayes hold regular meetings for the public to hold the Chief Constable, Andy Marsh to account.

The most recent Compass meeting took place at the University of Winchester earlier this month and was filmed for the www.thejusticegap.com.

“Every single front line uniform officer will wear body worn video and I believe that we’ll be the first police force nationally and probably actually in the western world where all officers use those,” said Andy Marsh. He argued that that the cameras were essential for a number of reasons including quicker justice, fairer justice and an independent witness.

This commitment by Government is recognition of the massive benefit body-worn video offers in terms of building trust with the public – and having an accurate and verifiable digital record of the evidence.”
Gavin McMillan, chief inspector and BWV project lead for Hampshire Constabulary

Unsurprisingly, civil liberties groups have attacked spy cameras. Emma Carr, deputy director of Big Brother Watch, said that the use of body-worn cameras had “the potential to seriously undermine trust between the police and members of the community”.

“It is far from clear why the police need this kind of equipment, and  the police should concentrate their efforts on engaging with the local community to tackle the issues of anti-social behaviour rather than resorting to underhand surveillance tactics.”
Emma Carr, Big Brother Watch

It has been reported that some 500 officers across eight London boroughs will wear cameras from March this year. It was a move being backed by supporters of Leon Briggs who died in police custody last year. “All police officers in all interactions with the public [should] wear body worn cameras and they should be recording during those interactions,” Michael Doherty, of Justice for Leon told the London edition of the Politics Show, which broke the story today.

 

Profile photo of Bracken Stockley About Bracken Stockley
Bracken is police and crime reporter for Winchester News Online and student at the University of Winchester

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5 Comments

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  • Global Focus July 24, 2014 12:53 pm

    Looking at the various Police trials throughout the year, we have seen an enormously positive response to tests carried out around the country. This is great news for not only justice, but public safety too.

    Body worn cameras will become as essential to the police uniform as handcuffs before we know it. Great news for everyone involved in progressing Britain towards a digitalised criminal justice system!

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  • Carl Williams September 4, 2015 5:14 pm

    This is really exciting to see officers finally outfitted with equipment (body cameras) that will hopefully prevent both citizens making false complaints and the small small percent of officers behaving badly.

  • Paul stone September 7, 2015 7:52 pm

    If the police have any evidence that incriminates corrupt police offices or any wrong doing on their part that will lead to any claims they will just delete the CCTV footage or suppress the footahe aided + abetted by police lawyers as we have discovered with Stephen Lawrence and mark duggan.

    Essex police disposed of my CCTV recording box as it incriminates corrupt Essex police officers fabricating evidence and planting evidence thAt our legal aid solicitors failed to address or ask further questions of corrupt CPS staff. Essex police have had a personal vendetta against us ever since we gave evidence to support PC Patrick James + Dr Roger Patrick that the Metropolitan Police, Essex Police and police forces across England and Wales were fiddling their crime statistics and then justifying no crime on the basis of mental health or other vulnerabilities.

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