London police to trial cameras worn by officers

8 May 2014

The London Metropolitan Police Service (LMPS) is to trial placing cameras on its officers which it hopes will lead to a speedier conviction process because of the video evidence.

According to the LMPS’ announcement, its commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe believes it will be particularly helpful with regard to domestic abuse cases and will increase the transparency of its officers in cases where they have been judged to have acted in a heavy-handed fashion.

LMPS officers that will be taking part in the extended trial have been issued with strict guidance about when cameras are to be used and will routinely collect evidence in incidents such as domestic abuse and public order but also for potentially contentious interactions such as the use of stop and search.

In total, 500 cameras distributed to 10 London boroughs. Firearms officers will also be putting the cameras through their paces in their training environment with a view to later operational deployment.

The camera in question that is to be used by the officers is the Axon Body Camera manufactured by a company known as TSR.

Attached to their body armour, the camera is switched on by either pressing a button on the body of the camera or by sliding a switch across the top.

At the end of their shift, officers will upload the material to a cloud-based server and, for the sake of privacy and data security, will be deleted after 31 days unless required for evidential purposes.

“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 it’s been alleged that we got things wrong. That has to be in both our own and the public’s interest,” said Commissioner Hogan-Lowe.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic