North Wales Police to become the first force in Wales to go personal issue
North Wales Police is to become the first force in Wales to hand body-worn video cameras to all on-duty officers.
Body cameras and dedicated evidence management software was introduced in North Wales last year, with 120 Reveal devices deployed. An extra 301 cameras will be rolled out to make a total of 421 across the force area.
"Improves evidence gathering"
The forces says cameras are particularly useful in the aftermath of domestic violence where evidence of injuries and damage can be gathered along with the behaviour and demeanour of the aggressor and the victim.
Mr Jones said: “Body-worn video improves evidence gathering and secures more convictions, especially in domestic violence cases. It also resolves complaints against the police because the evidence caught on camera is incontrovertible.
“Nationally, according to the College of Policing, the chance of a successful prosecution in domestic violence cases has risen from 72% to 81% if there is a body-worn video footage in front of a jury.”
A study by the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Criminology, based on a 12-month trial by police in Rialto, California, found that body-worn cameras reduced the use of force by roughly 50%.
Complaints against police also fell 90% during the study period compared with the previous year.
Mr Jones added: “It also means that vulnerable victims don’t have to go to go court to give evidence because the evidence is overwhelming from the body worn camera footage.”
Chief Superintendent Sacha Hatchett, head of operational support services with the force, stressed the devices have led to early guilty pleas and tougher sentences.
She said: “In North Wales, we’ve had some recent examples where we’ve had early guilty pleas in court while the prosecution and the sanctions against the individual were much more substantial because the jury and the judge could actually see a visual representation of the scene of the crime.
“They could see the phone ripped from the wall. They could see the damage, the pictures. They can see the victim’s injuries there and then. They can see the persona of the offender in various states of drunkenness.”
Secretary of North Wales Police Federation Richard Eccles said benefits from the cameras would be “increased convictions, reduced complaints and greater public confidence.”