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Traffic officers issued with body worn video cameras

News   •   Jun 27, 2017 05:00 BST

[Body worn video camera]

Traffic officers from the Met's Roads and Transport Police Command (RTPC) will this week be issued with Body Worn Video (BWV), the largest roll-out of cameras within the Met to date.

On Monday, 26 June, will see the deployment of Body Worn Video (BMV) issued to around 900 traffic officers in four sites: Alperton, Chadwell Heath, Catford and Merton.

Another 950 Safer Transport Team (STT) officers from the Roads and Transport Policing Command who are aligned to a London borough will receive their cameras over the summer.

To date BWV has also been rolled out to officers in 22 boroughs, along with officers from STT in those boroughs, and officers in the Met's Territorial Support Group (TSG).

Over the coming months, cameras will be issued to the remaining Taskforce teams (Marine Policing Unit, Dog Support Unit, Mounted Branch and the Automated Number Place Recognition units) as well as a further ten boroughs and officers on front-line specialist roles, including overt firearms officers.

The BWV will offer greater transparency for those in front of the camera as well as behind it. Londoners can feel reassured during their interactions with the police, whilst they will also help officers to gather evidence, and demonstrate their professionalism in the face of the many challenges involved in policing the Capital.

The cameras have already shown they can help bring about speedier justice for victims. This has proved particularly successful in domestic abuse cases where there has been an increase in early guilty pleas from offenders who know their actions have been recorded.

All recorded footage from BWV is subject to legal safeguards and guidance. The footage from the Axon Body Camera is automatically uploaded to secure servers once the device has been docked, and flagged for use as evidence at court or other proceedings. Since September 2016, officers have recorded over 371,650 videos of which 199,822 have auto deleted from the system as per the MPS policy on retention of footage. 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. This request must be made within 31 days, unless it has been marked as policing evidence and therefore retained.

The cameras will be worn attached to the officers' uniform and will not be permanently recording. This ensures that police interactions with the public are not unnecessarily impeded. Members of the public will be told as soon as practical that they are being recorded and when the camera is recording, it is highly visibly - notably by a flashing red circle in the centre of the camera and a frequent beeping noise once the camera is activated.

Superintendent Thomas Naughton, from the Roads and Transport Police Command, said: "Our traffic officers are often involved in pursuits and dealing with serious criminality and the BWV will support the evidence chain when apprehending offenders.

"The BWV will also in the longer term reduce the abstraction rate of officers attending court and most importantly support officer safety. Trials show the footage helps us present clear evidence and secure convictions at court.

"I believe this equipment is a positive step in enhancing public confidence in the RPTC and the wider Met."