Body cameras issued to protect victims of hate crime

Police in Edinburgh have begun issuing body cameras to victims of hate crime.

Aug 15, 2013
By Paul Jacques

Police in Edinburgh have begun issuing body cameras to victims of hate crime.

The mini ‘body cams’, capable of recording incidents at a touch of a button, will be offered to local shop staff who have experienced a significant or repeat incident.

The scheme is initially being rolled out in the north of the capital, with a view to a wider roll-out across Edinburgh.

The initiative has been designed to support staff by supplementing their existing CCTV and security measures.

Inspector Mark Rennie, based at Drylaw police station, said: “We often find that store security guards and shop staff receive racist abuse when they challenge shoplifters or refuse purchases. It’s totally unwarranted and unacceptable and these cameras are intended to provide reassurance to staff who have experienced such an incident by offering a deterrent and helping to assist police collect evidence to identify offenders.

“This will increase our opportunities to arrest those responsible, take appropriate action to put them before the courts and prevent them from being able to use the shop in the future.

“Although the devices are discreet, they are small enough to be worn on the body to ensure that vulnerable staff have access to the recording facility at all times and in areas of their premises that previously would not have been covered by their own CCTV.”

Foysol Choudhury, MBE, chair of Edinburgh and Lothian Regional Equality Council, said: “We welcome the initiative of Police Scotland of making small body cameras available, which will help safeguard and protect persons vulnerable to hate crimes.

“We also believe that it would make local business owners and employees confident to conduct their business as well as report instances of hate crime.

“As a lot of people are not aware of processes about reporting hate crimes, the body cameras will make them confident about garnering evidence of such crimes.

“We hope that this step will increase rates of reporting of hate crimes.”

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