If a police officer approaches you wearing one of these, smile – you might be on camera!
For the first time this week some North Yorkshire Police officers are kitted out with body-worn video cameras.
They are being rolled out to firearms officers, taser-trained officers, response officers and custody staff.
The use of the cameras will be monitored and evaluated during the initial roll-out which will then inform any future decisions about their wider use.
Fewer assaults, more convictions
According to North Yorkshire Police the expected benefits of the cameras include:
- improved evidence to support investigations
- increased conviction rates – particularly in the case of domestic violence and public order offences
- a reduction in substantiated complaints against North Yorkshire Police
- fewer assaults on officers
- and an increase in guilty pleas due to better evidence.
The cameras, which record audio as well as video, have also been shown to act as a deterrent in certain confrontational situations.
How the cameras will be used
In public and private
The cameras may be used in public and private premises for a policing purpose, and will only be used when it is proportionate, legitimate and necessary.
Flashing red light
Cameras will be clearly visible and worn on the outside of an officer’s uniform or headwear. When a camera is in operation, a flashing red light will appear and officers will advise members of the public that the camera is in use.
Not for continuous recording
Although the cameras will be worn during an entire shift, they may only be turned on when an officer is responding to an incident or working on certain policing operations. They cannot be used for general patrolling or for continuous, non-specific recording.
As an extra source of evidence
The evidence they record will be used to corroborate but cannot replace evidence from other sources such as eye witness accounts.
‘The time is right’
North Yorkshire Police used body-worn video cameras during the policing of protests at Kirby Misperton hydraulic fracturing site. They say the lessons learned from this has been fed into this roll-out of the cameras.
Assistant Chief Constable Amanda Oliver, said:
Body-worn video is now widely used across the UK police service and research has revealed numerous benefits for those forces using it.
At North Yorkshire Police we wanted to be sure that the benefits would outweigh any negatives, and have tracked both the results of its use, and the development of the products and solutions over the years.
Having seen the results from other areas, we are confident that the time is now right to adopt the use of the cameras in North Yorkshire.