Body Worn Video Steering Group
Police offers in the rest of Hampshire will follow in the footsteps of Operation Hyperion, an initiative on the Isle of Wight that saw every front line officer equipped with a personally issued body worn cameras.
The move to supply every officer with a body camera is the one of the first in the world to equip all of a force’s frontline staff with the technology. It comes after assaults were reported across the county of officers being injured in the line of duty. Last year the force recorded 703 assaults on staff.
Currently 500 officers have been supplied with body cameras but that number will rise to 2,800 over the next year. The number of recorded assaults on staff is expected to decrease with the addition of 2300 body cameras, which all feature prominent front-facing screens that have been shown to alter people’s behaviour when they have seen themselves on screen.
Hampshire police says the pilot scheme that has been running since 2013 found that the footage taken by officers helped cases progress through the courts quicker, helped resolve complaints against staff whilst also protecting officers.
Simon Hayes, police and crime commissioner, said “The importance of technology is that it is enabling police officers to do their job properly, to make them efficient and effective, to show evidence to the courts about what has happened at incidents, and to speed up the justice process”.
The information can also be shared with the Crown Prosecution Service, which Mr Hayes says will make for swifter justice.
The Government’s minister for policing, criminal justice and victims, Mike Penning, was accompanied by Winchester and Chandler’s Ford MP Steve Brine, Hampshire’s chief constable Andy Marsh, and Inspector Steve Goodier, lead officer for the force’s body-worn camera project, for a demonstration of how the body cameras work.
Mr Penning said Hampshire, which is among the first in the country to roll out the scheme, is ‘leading the way’.
He said: “Hampshire is leading the country in where we can really use body worn cameras in other ways. With the cameras if someone is a witness and we can talk to them there and then rather than in two or three weeks time when they might be at work or busy and might have forgotten something.
“They give our officers brilliant security. I want them to feel safe. America is years behind us with this.”