There has been a spread of CCTV in recent years, both in shops and on the streets, and even privately on houses and homes.
Following on from this trend, there has been a growth in cameras for motorcycles, dashcams for car drivers, and now body worn cameras – better known as body cams.
From security guards to doormen and from fireman to police, body cams are a way to record any incidents front line staff must deal with.
These body worn cameras are available to purchase from various manufacturers and retailers, such as https://www.pinnacleresponse.com/body-worn-cameras.
Some police forces have even suggested that all officers should be issued with body cams; for example, a police chief is calling for all his officers in the South West to have body cams.
Conviction in Welshpool, Wales
After recently rolling out cameras to local police and PCSOs in the area, with the aim of collecting evidence of incidents attended by officers, the first case to include body cam evidence in the area was heard in Welshpool.
The police hoped that having footage of specific incidents and alleged offences would encourage defendants to plead guilty in court, thus saving time and public money. This defendant was in court charged with a public order offence and the footage was provided as evidence; the defendant pleaded guilty to the offence and was immediately sentenced.
Tight controls on filming
Officers must announce when they commence and finish filming and have been issued guidance to only film when it is necessary. The cameras themselves are not hidden or secret devices; instead, they are clearly visible on officer’s uniforms.
These cameras should also help to deal with complaints about officers themselves, improving police accountability; in fact, the footage is available to members of the public for viewing if they make a freedom of information request to see the recording. The footage is only retained if required for evidence or a policing issue; otherwise, it is deleted within 31 days.
The local chief constable was very happy with the results and hopes that the camera evidence will reassure the public and ensure higher levels of convictions in the area. He expects the use of these cameras to collect valuable evidence to increase, which should hopefully lead to more convictions.