Surrey frontline officers issued with BWV

Improved evidence capture and quicker outcomes for victims are just two of the benefits of new body-worn video (BWV) cameras being issued to Surrey Police officers this month. More than 1,200 cameras are being deployed, primarily to frontline officers.

Mar 23, 2016
By Paul Jacques

Improved evidence capture and quicker outcomes for victims are just two of the benefits of new body-worn video (BWV) cameras being issued to Surrey Police officers this month. More than 1,200 cameras are being deployed, primarily to frontline officers.

Detective Superintendent Claire Pridgeon, director of the Surrey and Sussex Digital Enablement Team, said: “We know that capturing evidence at an early stage is a vital part of our ongoing efforts to bring more offenders to justice.

“There are occasions where victims are particularly vulnerable and may be unwilling to attend court or provide further evidence. However, where early capture of injuries and accounts has taken place, that information can be used at court. This is obviously particularly useful for sensitive cases, such as dealing with the victims of domestic abuse.”

Surrey Police said “the key benefits of using BWV are that it allows officers to quickly capture early evidence, which in turn, because of its strength and quality, can result in early guilty pleas at court and a much faster court process. This saves victims having to go through the distressing experience of giving evidence in court, while also saving the force and Crown Prosecution Service valuable time and resources”.

A number of recent studies and reports from across the UK, including Hampshire Constabulary’s Operation Hyperion on the Isle of Wight, also found that public order and assault crimes dropped when frontline officers were wearing BWV – resulting in fewer assaults on police and, potentially, the number of days lost through ‘sickness’ because of an assault being reduced.

In some areas of the UK, the introduction of BWV has also seen a reduction in complaints regarding use of force by officers. Metropolitan Police Service officers using BWV stated that 80 per cent of the complaints against them could be disproved using video capture, and this increased officer confidence about turning on the video.

“Another benefit from the use of BWV is that it helps to increase public awareness of the dangers police face on a daily basis,” Det Supt Pridgeon added.

“There have been a number of recent incidents where, following a criminal trial, police forces have uploaded BWV footage onto social media in an effort to highlight the risks that officers face on a daily basis. While in some cases this may be distressing, it highlights to the general public the lengths police go to in order to keep people safe.”

She said Surrey will use the same BWV devices from Reveal Media as those operated in Hampshire, Thames Valley and Sussex, “which means there is already a knowledge base to support training, best practice, as well as sharing back office ICT functions”.

The BWV cameras have been funded by the Surrey office of the police and crime commissioner.

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