Staffordshire Police have announced that they are to issue all of their 1300 front line officers with new personal-issue Body Worn Video (BWV) cameras.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire, Matthew Ellis, originally instigated the body worn video initiative back in 2012, making Staffordshire the first police force in the country to use the technology.
The first issue of body cameras has since proved to be a major asset in local policing, as Assistant Chief Constable Nick Adderley says: “BWV has proven to be a highly effective tool in gathering vital evidence and in securing guilty pleas from offenders as well as delivering real time transparency of the actions and decisions of those officers and staff who are wearing them.
“This is really important for both the officers and staff, as well as the community, as it allows for a greater level of accountability for our actions, therefore promoting confidence in the work that we do. As a pioneering force for this technology, we continue to develop and use this approach and are now in the process of replacing the 2012 issue cameras, with a new model that will give our officers and staff greater capability in capturing evidence. The new cameras have sharper images, enhanced sound quality and improved image capture at night.
“Every front line officer and PCSO will be personally issued with a new body worn video camera. This will continue to prove invaluable in securing best evidence, helping protect the public, as well as our staff, and providing greater reassurance in our policing services – helping us to keep our communities safer in Staffordshire.”
The initiative to equip all front line officers has been funded by Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire, Matthew Ellis, who said: “Back in 2013, I offered Staffordshire Police the chance to equip all frontline officers with body worn video. Staffordshire was the first in the UK to do that and during the last four years they have proved their worth in helping to protect officers as well as ensuring the public are dealt with appropriately.
“Police services across the UK are now adopting this technology for the first time and officers, here in Staffordshire, have been pivotal over recent years in developing the way body worn video is used.
“It’s now time to replace the original kit as part of on-going technology investment for Staffordshire Police to ensure they have the tools for the job in an ever more complex policing environment.”
The new cameras have been given the thumbs up with front line officer, PCSO Dan Wilson from Staffordshire Police saying: “If I have to present evidence in court, the cameras record evidence from my perspective and present what I see and hear.
“The cameras capture everything as it happens, once the person on the other side of the camera realises they are being filmed they often calm down; it’s a fantastic tool for de-escalating situations.”
Additionally, officers have praised the range of improved features that include a wider lens that can capture images at 145 degrees, increased battery life, better sound and image capture, improved night time recording and as a key feature, recording footage on a 30 second loop.
PC Sean Regan from Staffordshire Police, said: “The pre-record function is excellent as it gives me a tool to record spontaneous incidents as they occur. I’ve also found the cameras to be highly effective in gathering evidence when attending domestic incidents, as the they capture the emotions and the voice of the victim.”
Staffordshire Police, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and their strategic partner Boeing Defence UK Ltd are now in the process of issuing 1300+ new cameras to all officers across Staffordshire. The new personal issue cameras have been deployed in Stafford, Longton and Tamworth will continue to be issued throughout the county up and until March 2018.
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire, and Boeing Defence UK Ltd, have entered into a Strategic IT Partnership. This partnership is to help equip the police in Staffordshire with the tools to do the job, whilst recognising the changing face of crime. It is to help make Staffordshire Police the most technologically advanced police force in the country.