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Havering police to become RoboCops with body-worn cameras

17:49 22 July 2014

Acting Sgt Matt Sutton demonstrating the camera to chair of the Independent Advisory Group, Sheila Keeling. Picture: Met Police

Acting Sgt Matt Sutton demonstrating the camera to chair of the Independent Advisory Group, Sheila Keeling. Picture: Met Police

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Police in Havering are set to become RoboCops next week as they don body-worn video cameras to catch criminals in the act.

Today’s announcement means that Havering will be the fifth borough in London to pilot the technology.

Officers will begin wearing the cameras on July 30 and the force insists that individuals taking part have been issued with “strict” guidance about when cameras are used.

The recording devices will not be permanently switched on, to ensure the public is not intruded on, and will be used to collect evidence on incidents such as domestic abuse and public order.

They will also be used in argument-prone situations such as stop and searches.

Acting Ch Insp Lorraine Cowley also hopes that camera use will help make the police “more transparent” and boost public confidence towards Havering Police.

Video footage will be uploaded at the end of each shift and then deleted after 31 days unless required as evidence.

Earlier trials on a smaller scale have had positive findings, a police spokesman said, and this wider pilot should show the authorities how to use the technology in the future.

Ch Insp Cowley said: “We welcome this new technology in Havering and anticipate this will help us gain further confidence from the public towards our service, helping us deliver and strengthen our fight against crime.

“Video captures events in a way that can’t be represented on paper in the same detail. It has been shown that the mere presence of this type of video can often defuse potentially violent situations.

“We are already starting to hear that the use of cameras has contributed to early guilty pleas where offenders know an incident has been recorded.”

The pilot, thought to be the largest of its kind in the world, will see a total of 500 cameras distributed to 10 London boroughs.

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