BWV will meet ‘challenge’ of domestic abuse

Body-worn video (BWV) cameras are being piloted by officers in Hull to record “vital evidence” that will help bring domestic abuse offenders to justice, particularly in cases when victims do not want to pursue a complaint.

May 4, 2017
By Paul Jacques

Body-worn video (BWV) cameras are being piloted by officers in Hull to record “vital evidence” that will help bring domestic abuse offenders to justice, particularly in cases when victims do not want to pursue a complaint.

Detective Chief Inspector Phil Gadd from the Humberside Police Protecting Vulnerable People Unit said tackling domestic abuse was its “number one priority”.

Across the UK domestic abuse affects one in four women, as well as large numbers of men, he explained, adding: “It is a challenging crime to investigate as often offences are behind closed doors with limited evidence available and victims not always willing to make a complaint.

“To ensure that offenders responsible for such offending don’t evade justice we are piloting BWV cameras with patrol officers in Hull who are routinely responding to emergency calls for help from victims or witnesses of such violence.”

Det Chief Insp Gadd said that by equipping officers with BWV cameras, “vital evidence, including initial accounts from everyone involved”, can be recorded, often capturing images of any injuries that have been sustained.

“This footage provides vital evidence that can then be submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service to secure charges and subsequent prosecutions of perpetrators of domestic abuse.”

The force is already seeing the benefits of the cameras.

Last month, officers were called following a domestic incident in Hull in which 32-year-old Shane Fores had assaulted his girlfriend.

Det Chief Insp Gadd said the camera footage captured an account from a witness outlining that Fores had punched and bitten the woman and he was arrested. The officers then visited the woman at her home and the footage showed bruising and cuts that she had sustained in the incident. However she did not want to pursue a complaint.

The footage, however, along with Fores’ account while in interview, led to him being charged with assault by beating, said Det Chief Insp Gadd. At Hull Magistrates’ Court, Fores pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and was jailed for eight weeks.

“I am aware there are numerous cases already being investigated that will feature prominent evidence captured by officers wearing these cameras,” added Det Chief Insp Gadd. “I am sure this evidence will ensure offenders are not only charged but face the justice they deserve.”

He said as part of a commitment to tackling domestic abuse the force was working with local authorities and voluntary sector organisations to raise awareness on the issue, encouraging more victims and those with knowledge of abuse to report it.

This approach has led to improved confidence in the police and an increase in reporting, something that has been welcomed by the force.

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