Met Police To Wear Body Cameras

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

The Met police are to wear body cameras, claiming it should lead to swifter prosecutions as people know they’ve been recorded doing wrong

The Metropolitan Police Service has announced officers will be able to wear body cameras to film footage of their operations, but concerns over the manipulation of recordings and privacy have been raised.

Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said the cameras would likely bring swifter justice for victims, especially in domestic abuse cases, as people were more likely to plead guilty when they know the incident has been filmed.

Axon body cameraPolice body cameras to help victims

“Body-worn video will not only help us fight crime and support victims but help the Met to be more accountable,” he said of the launch today.

“Video captures events in a way that can’t be represented on paper in the same detail and it has been shown the mere presence of this type of video can often defuse potentially violent situations without the need for force to be used.

“I believe it will also show our officers at their best, dealing with difficult and dangerous situations every day but it will also provide clearer evidence when its been alleged that we got things wrong. That has to be in both our own and the public’s interest.”

Data from the cameras will be uploaded to a cloud-based server at the end of every day. The images will be deleted after 31 days unless required for evidence.

The ten boroughs participating in the trial, which will see a total of 500 cameras rolled out, are Barnet, Bexley, Bromley, Brent, Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Havering, Hillingdon and Lewisham. It’s believed to be one of the biggest rollouts of its kind in the world.

To allay concerns around privacy, the Met assured the public would “be informed as soon as practical that they are being recorded”. But there are additional concerns around police turning cameras off on a whim, so they fail to catch misbehaviour by officers.

The Met said there would be strict guidance about when cameras are to be used.

The device being used is an Azon body camera, produced by Taser, pictured above.

A host of other forces have introduced similar schemes. Yesterday, the Bedfordshire police force said it had completed the roll out of 60 body worn video cameras for use by frontline officers across the county.

Do you know all about public sector IT – the triumph and the tragedy? Take our quiz!