UK & World News

  • 8 May 2014, 10:01

Police To Wear Body Cameras To Boost Trust

Some 500 police officers in London will begin wearing cameras on their uniforms from today as a part of a trial aimed at increasing trust and speeding up justice for victims.

Firearms officers will also take part after criticism of the Metropolitan Police following the death of Mark Duggan.

The 29-year-old was shot dead by an armed officer in Tottenham in 2011. His death sparked mass riots which spread across the country.

A jury at his inquest in January this year ruled Mr Duggan was lawfully killed by a police marksman despite being unarmed. The verdict outraged his family and supporters who are fighting the ruling.

Armed officers will first only use the cameras in training, with a view to wearing them regularly if the pilot is successful.

Met commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said the move would boost transparency.

He said: "Body-worn video will not only help us fight crime and support victims but help the Met to be more accountable.

"Our experience of using cameras already shows that people are more likely to plead guilty when they know we have captured the incident. That speeds up justice, puts offenders behind bars more quickly and protects potential victims.

"Video captures events in a way that can't be represented on paper in the same detail and it has been shown the mere presence of this type of video can often defuse potentially violent situations without the need for force to be used.

"I believe it will also show our officers at their best, dealing with difficult and dangerous situations every day but it will also provide clearer evidence when it's been alleged that we got things wrong. That has to be in both our own and the public's interest."

Officers wearing the devices will not have them permanently switched on and will have to follow specific guidelines on when they can be used.

The 10 boroughs in the capital taking part in the trial include Camden, Barnet, Bexley, Bromley, Brent, Croydon, Ealing, Havering, Hillingdon and Lewisham.

Footage will be stored on file for a month unless it it needed as evidence in a case.

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