Body Worn Video (BWV) is being issued to 598 of frontline police officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) in Newham - additional cameras will also be available for specialist departments.
The cameras have already shown they can help bring speedier justice for victims. They have proved particularly successful in domestic abuse cases where there has been an increase in earlier guilty pleas from offenders who know their actions have been recorded.
BWV will offer greater transparency for those in front of the camera as well as those behind it. Londoners can feel reassured during their interactions with the police, whilst BWV will also help officers gather evidence and demonstrate their professionalism in the face of the many challenges involved in policing the Capital.
All footage recorded on BWV is subject to legal safeguards and guidance. The footage from the camera is automatically uploaded to secure servers once the device has been docked and flagged for use as evidence at court or other proceedings. Video not retained as evidence or for a policing purpose is automatically deleted within 31 days.
If the public wish to view footage taken of them they can request, in writing, to obtain it under freedom of information and data protection laws. The request must be within 31 days of the incident unless it has been marked as police evidence and therefore retained.
The cameras are worn attached to the officer's uniform and do not permanently record. This ensures interactions with the public are not unnecessarily impeded. Members of the public are told as soon as practical that they are being recorded. When the camera is recording, it is highly visible with a flashing red circle in the centre of the camera and a frequent beeping noise when it's activated.
Newham Borough Commander Ade Adelekan said: "Body Worn Video will be an invaluable tool for front line officers and will make Newham safer. The evidence it will capture at a scene will provide additional information at court and assist in sentencing decisions. Its use is proven in increasing conviction rates, reducing confrontation and malicious allegations made against all. We believe the introduction of Body Worn Video in Newham should increase confidence within the community and will enhance our ability to support victims of crime."
Over the coming months cameras will be issued to all 32 London boroughs and a number of frontline specialist roles, including overt firearms officers. The deployment of all 22,000 cameras will be managed in a phased approach and is anticipated to be complete by the summer.