Police to wear body cameras in new year

Body cam
Body cam

WIGAN division police officers will be fitted with body cameras early in the new year, the Evening Post understands.

The new technology is being introduced to promote “higher confidence” in policing and frontline staff have been told to prepare for the changes.

Greater Manchester Police has used body-worn video for response teams since 2013 but the more widespread roll-out will mean it being used across the borough on a regular basis for the first time.

More than 3,000 officers and staff will be issued with the technology, which have been shown to increase protection for the public and police officers, and reduce complaints, according to police commissioner Tony Lloyd.

Speaking last month, Mr Lloyd said: “This is about policing in the 21st Century. Body-worn videos capture vital evidence when police are out on patrol, they make officers feel safer and – crucially – they improve the public’s confidence in police.

“The public supports this measure, the police want it, and the technology now makes it possible.

“It’s a no-brainer that we now go ahead and get them on the streets of Greater Manchester as quickly as possible.”

Studies have shown that where these cameras are used there are significant increases in early guilty pleas in court, saving time and money, and reductions in complaints against police, a statement from the commissioner’s office added.

Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan said: “Body-worn video has been part of Greater Manchester Police’s plans to improve our service to the public for several years, going back to summer 
2013.

“In the intervening time we have had 80 cameras active amongst our response teams on both the North and South Manchester divisions on a trial basis, to test their effectiveness and their practical use on day-to-day interactions with the public.

“I wholeheartedly welcome the announcement that the PCC has agreed funding to roll this scheme out across the force.

“The report recently released by the Metropolitan Police Service on their deployment of Body-worn Video has highlighted several benefits for forces which plan to use this technology.

“It found that interactions between the police and the public resulted in fewer complaints where a camera was worn and there are obvious benefits to its evidence-gathering capability, with recordings obtained during the trial period being used as evidence in successful prosecutions.

“Both in London and Manchester, when asked their view about body-worn video, the public said that they would have higher confidence in policing when cameras were worn by officers.”