Norfolk police officers to be armed with body-worn cameras

PUBLISHED: 16:06 19 October 2016 | UPDATED: 21:20 19 October 2016

A policeman wears the new Body Worn Video (BWV) camera outside Lewisham police station, London. Photo credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

A policeman wears the new Body Worn Video (BWV) camera outside Lewisham police station, London. Photo credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Police in Norfolk will be equipped with body-worn cameras in a phased roll-out to frontline officers beginning in the second quarter of 2017.

The announcement was made by the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Lorne Green, whose election pledges included providing police with ‘21st century tools to fight 21st century crime’.

“I have delivered what I said I would deliver. I listened to officers and spent time on the frontline, seeing the challenges they face and the demands on them”,

Mr Green said: “Our police must have the modern technology they need to fight the crime types affecting Norfolk today.

“This is great news and an important investment in our police. Together with the replacement of old computers for our officers and staff which I signed off just last month, we are making good progress.

As well as supporting officers working in challenging situations, the PCC said introduction of body worn video also offers benefits for the public:

“The cameras will provide greater transparency over our officers’ interactions with the public, providing community reassurance and building confidence. Use of body worn video has also been shown to help deliver justice more quickly for victims of crime. If they’ve been caught on camera, it is more likely perpetrators will take responsibility for their actions.”

Norfolk Constabulary is working closely with Suffolk Police over the use and implementation of the technology, with a programme team responsible for managing the roll-out.

The cost has not been revealed officially, but is understood to be about £1m. It is not yet clear how many officers will wear them, or which types of officers.

Temporary assistant chief constable Mike Fawcett, programme lead for body worn cameras for both forces, said: “We are always looking to ways to further improve the public’s trust in community policing.

Cameras offer greater transparency for those in front of the camera as well as behind it. Our officers often have to work in challenging situations and the use of body-worn video cameras can be a valuable tool in supporting them whilst building the public’s confidence.

“Use of cameras elsewhere has already shown that they can help bring about speedier justice for victims, and have been particularly successful in domestic abuse cases, where there has been an increase in guilty pleas from offenders who know their actions have been recorded.

“The cameras will be attached to officers’ uniforms and will not be permanently recording. Members of the public will be told as soon as practicable that they are being recorded, and when the camera is recording it is very obvious – marked by a flashing red circle in the centre of the camera and a frequent beeping noise when it is activated.”

And Tim Passmore, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner said: “Anything that improves the public’s trust and confidence in the Constabulary and makes life on the streets safer for our police officers has my full support.

“My police and crime plan specifically refers to my commitment to officers and staff. I want to be sure they have the equipment, training and resources to enable them to perform their roles; the chief constable and I are united in this commitment.”

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