New cameras give officers a headstart against crime

A £165,000 roll-out is underway to equip each West Yorkshire Police division with new ‘headcams’ to gather video evidence of crimes.

May 21, 2008
By Paul Jacques
Picture: Centre for Justice Innovation

A £165,000 roll-out is underway to equip each West Yorkshire Police division with new ‘headcams’ to gather video evidence of crimes.

PCs and police community support officers (PCSOs) will be provided with the new cameras which have been funded by the Home Office.

The headcams come complete with a digital hard disc recorder which can store up to 400 hours of video. Footage can be viewed ‘on the go’ by officers and then burnt onto DVDs.

Officers who have taken part in trialling the equipment in Leeds said the footage had made a big impact when used in interviews, as it was a powerful tool in encouraging people to admit guilt if they were clearly shown commiting an offence.

They also believe it will help save costs in the long run by securing convictions through confessions without the need for sometimes conducting expensive forensic tests.

The cameras can record in almost any light levels and come equipped with ultra long-length record batteries, which have been specially fitted by the force to record for 12 hours non-stop.

The force has also taken delivery of a number of specially-constructed, high-security PCs to transfer footage from the cameras and preserve it as evidence.

Superintendent Pete Nicholson of West Yorkshire Police said: “Tests over the past few years have shown that people have been far more ready to plead guilty once they have seen footage of themselves committing their crime.”

He added that the cameras had proved a useful crime deterrent, with the prospect of being recorded acting as a “wake up call” for those looking to commit disorder.

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