Body Worn Video Steering Group
Today, Scotland Yard has announced that armed police will be equipped with body worn video cameras in a bid to obtain an unbiased account of controversial confrontations between police and the public.
The move towards body worn cameras has been sparked in the wake of the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan, which led to the protests and riots across the country in August 2011. Senior officers explained that they have turned to the technology, which will be deployed from April, to “avoid years of dispute and counter views”.
The Met’s assistant commissioner Mark Rowley described that previously, every officer had to give their own extensive account of what they recollected in controversial situations, concluding “Clearly, the way that was done, there’s ways we could have better transparency, more clear supervision and we’ve put some changes in place.”
Those changes have come in the form of body worn video cameras which will be deployed from April this year. Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has announced that they are going to ask armed police to wear body cameras to “record this type of incident”.
Assistant commissioner Rowly added that the aim of using the cameras will be to “create greater transparency around firearms operations” and challenge negative public perceptions of armed deployments.
Mr Rowley explained: “There are great benefits to having these incidents on video. Look at the Lee Rigby case – everyone knows what happened.
“We don’t need all these different opinions and conjecture – it’s much easier to get to the facts.”
The benefits of body worn cameras are not exclusively to “police the police”, as could be interpreted from the news reports surrounding today’s announcement from Scotland Yard. The benefits of gathering high quality evidence in order to reduce crime, cut costs and significantly reduce aggression towards officers contribute largely to the adoption of body worn cameras.