Operation Hyperion results will provide blueprint for BWV use

Hampshire Constabulary’s body-worn video (BWV) trial Operation Hyperion is coming to an end with the results expected to help set the standard for future use of these cameras by police forces.

May 8, 2014
By Paul Jacques
Chief Constable Andy Marsh

Hampshire Constabulary’s body-worn video (BWV) trial Operation Hyperion is coming to an end with the results expected to help set the standard for future use of these cameras by police forces.

The year-long operation equipped every frontline police officer on the Isle of Wight with a BWV camera to explore how they could provide a more efficient and accountable service to the public.

BWV had been in use in Hampshire since 2008, but Operation Hyperion was the first initiative to introduce ‘personal issue’ body cameras to all frontline officers. One camera was assigned to one specific officer or police community support officer (PCSO) for the duration of the project.

Sergeant Steve Goodier led the operation and said: “The limited use of BWV in recent years has shown it has the ability to increase the quality of evidence and our ability to protect the community with a more effective criminal justice system.”

He added that the force wanted to put this potential to the test on a larger scale by training frontline officers and PCSOs to carry these cameras in their daily duties.

“We will only record with these cameras for a specific policing purpose when evidence needs to be captured swiftly at that moment.

“BWV is a reliable hi-tech witness that makes us more efficient and accountable to the public in many of the most challenging circumstances faced by police,” he said.

The project has been recorded and results will be published independently by researchers from the University of Portsmouth’s Institute of Criminal Justice Studies.

Sgt Goodier said: “I’m grateful for the commitment and expertise of the university researchers, who are looking at a number of ways to measure the effect of police using BWV across the whole island each day. The results of the survey and an analysis of all these factors will influence decisions taken both locally and nationally about the future of BWV by police forces.

“Ultimately, the police force is striving to make the most of technology to reduce bureaucracy, cut crime, catch more criminals and provide an excellent service in protecting the people we serve from harm.”

The results from Operation Hyperion will be available in the coming months.

The operation was supported by BWV specialist Reveal Media which supplied 180 cameras to the force.

The budget for the whole Hampshire Constabulary BWV project was £261,000, with the Isle of Wight personal issue operation allocated funding of £47,500.

Hampshire Constabulary Chief Constable Andy Marsh, the national policing lead for BWV, said the use of BWV in policing was becoming a “key focus for investment across many forces” and its use was now widespread within policing.

“We have seen some good results [from Operation Hyperion] and better justice as a result of this technology – it will ultimately become part of the digital criminal justice system,” he said. “The exciting and innovative technology stands to provide better standards of evidence and an accurate record of street encounters, as well as increased professionalism within the front line.”

Mr Marsh has been instrumental in producing national guidance that will identify best practice for the future use of BWV. He says the new guidance, endorsed by the College of Policing, is expected to be released “within the next few weeks”.

In addition to Hampshire Constabulary, the technology has been trialled by a number of forces across the UK and the guidance will set out seven simple principles for the use of BWV in the wake of these pilots.

“I see a day when instead of any statement being taken at all, that a witness just gives an account on camera which is presented to a court,” added Mr Marsh. “And I see a day where an offender, for the right level of offending, would give an account for themselves on BWV on the spot and the whole lot is presented to magistrates and judges and juries to make an assessment of who’s telling the truth and what the sentence should be.”

Staffordshire Police recently announced that it is to make 530 BWV cameras ava

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