Police bodycams build a better picture

Thames Valley Police is the latest force to equip its front-line officers with body-worn video equipment.

Jul 3, 2008
By Paul Jacques

Thames Valley Police is the latest force to equip its front-line officers with body-worn video equipment.

The mini cameras, which will be worn on the chest, have been purchased using a grant from the Home Office, further supported by funding from various local crime and disorder reduction partnerships.

So far 120 kits have been purchased and officers are currently being trained in using the equipment.

PC Mike Ellis, the force anti-social behaviour coordinator responsible for the implementation, said: “This is an exciting enhancement to evidence-gathering capabilities of officers.

“The cameras will give first-hand evidence of any anti-social behaviour and are an excellent visible deterrent – if people know that they are being recorded, they are less likely to misbehave.”

During local and national trials of the bodycams, it was found that incidents of alcohol-related crime and disorder and aggressive behaviour was greatly reduced wherever the equipment was deployed.

PC Ellis added: “Signs informing the public that body-worn video equipment may be used within their communities will be prominently displayed and officers wearing the kit will also wear an identification armband.”

The first area to go live with the full equipment was Cherwell local police area with six Banbury officers taking the technology onto the streets on June 20.

The equipment includes a compact lightweight digital camera mounted onto the officer’s uniform. The camera transmits images via a cable to a small digital video recorder worn on the officer’s belt. The camera also has a microphone and works equally well during daylight and at night.

Police community support officers (PCSOs) and response officers will wear the cameras as a deterrent and evidence-gathering measure.

Positive feedback has already been received from officers who have trialled the equipment in West Oxfordshire, Windsor and Maidenhead, Reading, and Aylesbury.

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