Body Worn Video Steering Group

Damian Green plans for “all criminal courts to be operating digitally” by 2016

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The Minister for Policing, Damian Green (pictured below) has pledged £75m a year to help drag “19th century procedures into the 21st century” by digitising the criminal justice system. Among the changes being made is the development of body worn camera programs across the country.

Damien Green2

The current low success rate of domestic violence prosecutions has been flagged as a significant problem, being deemed an “appalling crime” by Home secretary Theresa May.

“It’s completely unacceptable” May continued, “I was worried police weren’t handling domestic violence cases properly, that’s why I commissioned this report, sadly the report shows that I was right. It shows significant failings in the way police deal with domestic violence.”

Theresa May highlighted that not being able to collect quality evidence from domestic violence scenes meant that the criminal justice system was unable to deal with them.

Essex police have created a specialist Domestic Abuse Crime Unit (DACU) in order to tackle the growing problem and collect better evidence. The DACU are equipped with body cameras to help gain the evidence needed to support a charge. Detective Inspector Caroline Venables who is leading the DACU said: “Recent deployments of body worn video cameras have already led to perpetrators being charged with assault, without the involvement of the victim.”

Green affirmed: “We have found cameras [particularly useful] in domestic violence cases. I want to see a criminal justice system where information is captured once by a police officer responding to a crime then flows through the system to the court stage without duplication or reworking.

“Many forces are already using digital technology like body-worn video, which can be used to collect compelling evidence at the scene of crimes.”

Stephen Greenhalgh, the deputy mayor of London added that “body cameras are also a great way for the police to calm things down. One officer told me he would rather get rid of his CS spray than his video camera.”

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