Reveal body cameras “the best bit of kit they’ve ever been given”
Hampshire Chief Constable Andy Marsh, who is the national lead on body worn video, has announced that he is deploying Reveal body cameras to 2,800 frontline staff who will benefit from it.
And he said the public should be able to see how “rough and difficult” policing can be.
He said: “Policing is not a game or a memory test but the way we expect people giving evidence to behave, it seems like it is a memory test. It is police officers’ independent witness.
“Officers in Hampshire have described it as the best bit of kit they’ve ever been given. And we encourage officers to give commentary to explain what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.
“We do society and the police no service when we seek to gentrify policing, it is rough it is difficult. Clips [from body-worn cameras] open their eyes to how difficult and impressive the work of the police is. And we should let public see how difficult it is.
“People are shocked and stunned, and impressed with the professionalism of our officers. It opens a window onto human nature – the worst and the best. It shows the compassion and bravery of our people on the ground.
“If we are going to have fewer people, those fewer people have to be well equipped, well led and supported by appropriate technology.
Doug Campbell of the Police Federation agrees and has said: “We need body-worn cameras for the public good and the good of our members – it’s a no-brainer. But there has been a rise in technology and the police service has been behind the curve."
Currently 500 officers have been supplied with Reveal RS3-SX and RS2-X2 body cameras but that number will rise to 2,800 over the next year. The number of recorded assaults on staff is expected to decrease with the addition of 2300 Reveal body cameras, which all feature prominent front-facing screens that have been shown to alter people’s aggressive behaviour when they have seen themselves on screen.
Simon Hayes, police and crime commissioner, said “The importance of technology is that it is enabling police officers to do their job properly, to make them efficient and effective, to show evidence to the courts about what has happened at incidents, and to speed up the justice process”.
The information can also be shared with the Crown Prosecution Service, which Mr Hayes says will make for swifter justice.
The Government's minister for policing, Mike Penning, said Hampshire, which is among the first in the country to roll out the scheme, is 'leading the way'.
He said: “Hampshire is leading the country in where we can really use body worn cameras in other ways. With the cameras if someone is a witness and we can talk to them there and then rather than in two or three weeks time when they might be at work or busy and might have forgotten something.
“They give our officers brilliant security. I want them to feel safe. America is years behind us with this.”