Scotland Yard today said it will issue large-scale body-worn cameras to its officers to help them in "challenging" situations and bringing offenders to justice more quickly. The so-called "Body Worn Video" will be issued to over 22,000 Metropolitan Police frontline officers, including overt firearms officers after their trial was found successful. "Body Worn Video (BWV) will support our officers in the many challenging situations they have to deal with, at the same time as building the public's confidence.
What we do every day will be seen by the public - that has to be good," said Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe, who announced the roll-out alongside London mayor Sadiq Khan. "Our experience of using cameras already shows that people are more likely to plead guilty when they know we have captured the incident on a camera," Howe said, adding it will speed up justice and put offenders behind bars more quickly and most importantly protect potential victims. Video captures events in a way that can't be represented on paper in the same detail, a picture paints a thousand words, 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, he said. The cameras will be worn attached to the officer's uniform and will not be permanently recording to ensure that officers' interactions with the public are not "unnecessarily impeded", he said, adding that the public will be told very soon that they are being recorded. "Body Worn Video is a huge step forward in bringing our capital's police force into the 21st century and encouraging trust and confidence in community policing," Khan said. This technology is already helping drive down complaints against officers and making them more accountable, as well as helping to gather better evidence for swifter justice. "As we roll them out across London, these cameras will make a real difference to officers, as they continue their great work on the frontline fighting crime and keeping our city safe," he said. In November 2015, the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), following a successful trial awarded a three-year contract worth 3.4-million pound to Axon Public Safety UK Limited, to supply the MPS with 22,000 cameras. "Londoners can feel reassured during their interactions with the police, whilst allowing us to demonstrate the professionalism of our officers in the many challenging and contentious interactions, such as the use of stop and search," the Met said. All footage recorded on 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 and other proceedings. Video not retained as evidence or for a policing purpose is automatically deleted within 31 days. The deployment of all 22,000 cameras across London will be managed in a phased approached and is anticipated to be complete by next year.