Havering Police officers take to the streets with bodycams on the borough’s official launch
- Credit: Archant
Frontline officers in the borough were today issued with body worn video cameras as part of the world’s biggest ever roll-out.
Havering Police is part of the Metropolitan Police’s drive to supply bodycams to all 32 London boroughs and more than 22,000 officers.
The cameras which will be attached to the officer’s uniform will help improve the “transparency of policing”.
Pc Sarah McKenzie, of Havering Police, was part of the pilot which saw 550 body cameras used across 10 London boroughs.
She told the Recorder from her own experiences in the last 18 months how the cameras were “positive from every aspect”.
“They capture everything that is very difficult to write down on paper,” Pc Sarah McKenzie said.
“One of the big things for me is as soon as people know they are being recorded, their behaviour changes and a situation can be calmed down instantly.”
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Police say the cameras have already proved successful in bringing about speedier justice for victims, and have been particularly successful in domestic abuse cases.
Pc McKenzie added: “Domestic crimes are a huge issue for us and carry out a lot of risk.
“There are so many withdrawals the day after we visit a domestic abuse case but video taken at the scene assists with prosecutions and protects people from being repeat offenders which is the most important thing.”
For some, including Pc Steven Nunn, today is the first day officers will head out on the streets of Havering with cameras attached.
He said “There might be a few nerves at first with them on but I am used to the cameras already fitted to our vans so it’s not completely new for us.
“I have also seen how the benefits of the cameras far outweigh the negatives for both us and the public.
“Hopefully it will speed up the criminal justice system and mean more guilty offenders are brought to justice.”
The Met claim the introduction is “not covert in any way” with the public being told at the earliest practical moment when a camera starts recording. Footage from the Axon cameras will be automatically uploaded to secure servers once the device has been docked, and flagged for use as evidence at court or other proceedings.
Video footage that is not used for policing purposes is automatically discarded after 31 days.
People will also be able to apply for any footage of them under freedom of information law.