The London Metropolitan Police have announced that 22,000 cameras are to be issued across Armed Police officers in London to increase accuracy in confrontational situations.
Distributed across the UK’s largest police force, new technology cameras will be fitted to baseball caps and ballistic helmets in the next few weeks.
London’s Met Police aim to distribute a total of 22,000 cameras by the end of October. Met police criticism over the death of Mark Duggan sparked the introduction of camera technology to ensure public and officer safety.
The purpose of the new camera technology is to allow for a more accurate account of the actions and reactions of both the officer and the public, in order to make sure difficult situations are handled in the best way possible.
Commander Matt Twist, in charge of the Firearms Command said: “Officers who carry an overt firearm as part of their role very much welcome the use of Body Worn Video. It provides a documented and accurate account of the threats officers face and the split second decisions they make. The cameras also offer greater transparency for those in front of the camera as well as those behind it.”
The camera technology also brings the potential to get quicker justice for victims because actions are all recorded. The head-mounted camera technology is similar to current body worn cameras, however, head cameras will not be permanently recording and when they are officers must inform the public.
Footage is auto uploaded to secure servers once device has been docked and flagged for evidence at courts or other proceedings. Not used – auto deleted within 31 days.
All officers on the Armed Response Units in the Firearms Command will be issued with the new technology. The Firearms Command is expected to receive about 1,000 Axon Flex 2 cameras.
In London, so far, 17,000 BVW cameras have been distributed. Currently that includes, 30 out of 32 London Boroughs have had cameras issued to their frontline officers. This includes Roads and Transport Policing command, Territorial Support Group and Dog Support Unit. Remaining areas will be issued with camera technology before the bank holiday weekend.
Sadiq Kahn, The Mayor of London, who welcomes the camera technology, said: “”Body Worn Video is a huge step forward in bringing our capital’s police force into the 21st century and building trust and confidence in the city’s policing.
“This technology is helping to drive down complaints against officers across London and will make a real difference to those carrying firearms, increasing accountability and helping to gather better evidence for swifter justice.
“As we complete the London-wide rollout, the cameras will also provide our officers with confidence in the transparency of their actions, as they continue their great work on the frontline fighting crime and keeping our city safe.”
The effectiveness of the head-mounted camera technology will be monitored by other forces across the country, with plans to issue cameras across their armed teams as well.