BWV cameras ‘important investment’ for forces

Norfolk Police and Suffolk Police are to equip frontline officers with body-worn video (BWV) cameras in a phased rollout beginning next year.

Nov 16, 2016
By Paul Jacques

Norfolk Police and Suffolk Police are to equip frontline officers with body-worn video (BWV) cameras in a phased rollout beginning next year.

The two forces are working closely on the use and implementation of the technology, with a dedicated programme team responsible for managing the introduction of the equipment across both counties.

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Mike Fawcett, programme lead for BWV cameras for both forces, said: “We are always looking to ways to further improve the public’s trust in community policing. Cameras offer greater transparency for those in front of the camera as well as behind it. Our officers often have to work in challenging situations and the use of BWV cameras can be a valuable tool in supporting them while building the public’s confidence.”

He said the use of BWV cameras elsewhere has already shown that they can help bring about speedier justice for victims, and have been particularly successful in domestic abuse cases, where there has been an increase in guilty pleas from offenders who know their actions have been recorded.

“The cameras will be attached to officers’ uniforms and will not be permanently recording,” explained Mr Fawcett.

“Members of the public will be told as soon as practicable that they are being recorded, and when the camera is recording it is very obvious – marked by a flashing red circle in the centre of the camera and a frequent beeping noise when it is activated.”

Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner (PCC) Lorne Green said “police must have the modern technology they need to fight the crime types affecting Norfolk today”.

As well as supporting officers working in challenging situations, Mr Green said the introduction of BWV also offers benefits for the public:

“The cameras will provide greater transparency over our officers’ interactions with the public, providing community reassurance and building confidence,” he said.

“Use of BWV has also been shown to help deliver justice more quickly for victims of crime. If they’ve been caught on camera, it is more likely perpetrators will take responsibility for their actions.”

Suffolk PCC Tim Passmore added: “Anything that improves the public’s trust and confidence in the constabulary and makes life on the streets safer for our police officers has my full support.

“My police and crime plan specifically refers to my commitment to officers and staff. I want to be sure they have the equipment, training and resources to enable them to perform their roles; the chief constable and I are united in this commitment.”

Mr Green said it was an important investment in policing: “Together with the replacement of old computers for our officers and staff, which I signed off just last month, we are making good progress.”

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