London police offers will be testing wearable cameras as a part of their uniform.
BY SAMANTHA MURPHY KELLY
London Metropolitan Police will be attaching small cameras to their uniforms as part of a year-long pilot to capture evidence in real time.
About 500 police offers will be testing the concept of body-worn video cameras in nine London boroughs. The move aims to help police capture, manage, and share digital evidence while out on the streets, but also monitor how both officers and persons of suspects interact during arrests and crime scenes.
The footage then automatically uploads to a website (Evidence.com), where authorities can review what's been captured.
The Metropolitan Police are partnering with Arizona-based Taser International for its Axon Body cameras, which can log up to 12 hours of continuous video.
The cameras won't exactly be hidden either — the devices, which are powered by a pocket-size battery pack, can attach to anything from a shirt collar to a hat or sunglasses. Files can't be altered or deleted by anyone wearing the device, the company says.
This isn't the first time officers will be rolling out body cameras. A similar test is underway in Los Angeles; Bremerton, Washington; Danville, Virginia; Miami; Duluth, Minnesota and other cities.
“It’s excellent evidence and it’s for the very rare occasions when officers do something wrong so we can be accountable to the public, but also for that majority of cases when officers are doing the right thing and to reduce complaints that might be bogus to show what really happened," Bremerton's police chief Steve Strachan told Q 13 Fox News.
In a 2012 Cambridge University study conducted in Rialto, California, the use of video cameras worn by police offers was highly successful. The results showed an 88% reduction in citizen complaints and a 60% reduction in use-of-force situations.
The Axon cameras are also being used during the recent taping of the BBC series Traffic Cops, where a UK crime unit uses cameras to capture incidents from an officer's point of view.