Communities, victims and police, are benefiting after Body Worn Video was introduced in West Mercia a year ago.
Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion made a £1million investment in the technology, which was rolled out ahead of schedule last September. In an average month, over 13,000 clips are recorded, of which more than 2000 are used in evidence. The footage can now be shared digitally with the Crown Prosecution Service to use in court and charging decisions, saving time for both the police and the justice system.
A Cambridge University Study showed the technology could reduce complaints by 93%, and here is West Mercia complaints are being dealt with quicker than before it was introduced, with BWV providing clear evidence in some cases that complaints are unfounded.
Officers have described how in some instances the mere presence of body cameras can diffuse a situation and impact on offender behaviour. It’s also given colleagues a better understanding of people’s demeanour in order to support decisions made and helped provide reassurance to victims.
Further research is now underway, to measure the long term impact of the benefits in areas such as best use of evidence to increase convictions, the potential for early guilty pleas and victimless prosecutions, stop and search, use of force, the increase in public confidence, officer safety and assaults and cost savings.
Commissioner John Campion said “Body Worn Video is playing a significant part in my plans to reform and modernise West Mercia Police and I am pleased to see it having such a positive impact for victims, communities and the police. One of my key promises was to equip West Mercia Police with the tools to do their difficult jobs to the best of their abilities, and I have delivered on this.
Not only does it provide a higher quality of service for victims with high quality evidence which increases the chance of conviction, but it makes the police service more accountable with the increased transparency helping to reassure the public and giving our communities greater confidence in the police service.”
Martin Evans, Assistant Chief Constable of West Mercia Police said: “The introduction of Body Worn Video has enabled us to take a substantial step forward with modernising our policing operations. The ability to directly record evidence from the scene of all types of incidents has made successful prosecutions easier to achieve, more quickly and effectively. Our officers appreciate the protection they afford as negative behaviour often moderates once advised a recording is being made. The cameras have rapidly become an essential part of modern policing and protecting people from harm is more efficient as a result.”
Issued: Friday 21st September 2018