Release Date: 08 August 2017
Police body cameras are being rolled out to all police officers in the borough as part of a £3.4million drive for accountability.
The Body Worn Video (BWV) will be issued to around 250 frontline police officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) in Richmond upon Thames with additional cameras being made available for specialist departments.
The cameras have already been credited with delivering speedier justice for victims particularly in cases of domestic abuse where offenders have pleaded guilty early once they are aware their actions have been recorded.
Officers will alert members of the public that they are being recorded with the cameras showing a flashing red circle and a frequent beeping noise once it is activated.
It is mandatory for the Body Worn Video to record in certain situations including when stop and search powers are being used, to increase the accountability of policing to local communities.
Footage from the cameras are automatically uploaded to secure servers once the device has been docked and flagged for use as evidence at court or other proceedings.
Cllr Mark Boyle, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said:
"Research has shown that the use of body worn cameras can help to prevent crime in defusing difficult situations while also providing stronger evidence which can lead to more successful prosecutions in our fight against crime.
"But crucially, the use of these cameras can help to build and maintain trust among local communities and the police, knowing that the footage gathered can also be used to hold officers to account for their actions and ensure they act appropriately whilst on duty.
"It is a very positive step forward and one I wholeheartedly support."
Sergeant Simon Whitlock, who is leading the introduction of BWV in Richmond, said:
“Body Worn Video is an important addition to the equipment we provide to our officers. It is an invaluable tool to combat crime and one that will make Richmond safer and support both officers and the public.
“In addition to the cameras, we also have first-class accompanying software to manage all data downloaded from the camera in a secure, systematic and professional manner. It is fully integrated with existing Met crime reporting methods and procedures for conveying evidence from the scene into the evidential chain for admission at court. Its use is proven in increasing conviction rates, reducing confrontation and complaints against police officers and informing sentencing decisions at court.
“It can sometimes be difficult to articulate what officers have witnessed. However, with both an audio and visual capability, the footage it captures at a scene will provide a compelling addition to the evidence we are able to present.
“Body Worn Video will provide further reassurance to the communities in Richmond of our enhanced ability to support victims of crime and directly record criminal behaviour and its consequences.”
If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Elinor Firth on 020 8487 5159.
Updated: 31 August 2017