Frontline police officers in Norfolk and Suffolk are now equipped with body cameras
- Credit: Norfolk Constabulary
People stopped by police will now be caught on film as front-line officers start wearing body cameras while on patrol.
Officers in Norfolk and Suffolk's roads policing and firearms unit sported the cameras for the first time this week as the force aims to bring in new technology to help fight 21st century crime.
The rest of the force will be equipped later in the year as part of the £2.8m project, which bosses hope will result in a drop in the number of assaults on police officers in the region.
Sgt Chris Harris was one of the first officers to use the cameras and said: 'There has been some research that said officers wearing the cameras see a reduction in the number of assaults on them, as offenders' behaviour can be less aggressive when they realise that they are being filmed.
'They are a good thing if they help reduce assaults on officers and that means that I feel much safer.'
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It is also hoped the cameras - which cost £400 each - will speed up prosecutions in court, similar to dash-cams.
Sgt Harris said: 'We have had them in the road policing vehicles for years and if you go to court with a motoring offence and show the jury what is going on, they can see it in real life.
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'Before if you came out of the vehicle to deal with something, that is when the CCTV and recordings stopped.
'This will enable us to provide that recording and that supplementary evidence, which is best evidence to show the jury exactly what happened.'
The cameras will not be rolling the entire time and will be switched on by officers as soon as it is practically possible during an incident.
Mike Fawcett, the lead on the project, also wanted to reassure the public the recordings will only be used if it is relevant for a criminal case.
He said: 'There is an option for us in relation to redacting the information on the cameras, so if we have recorded a full incident involving loads of people and people by accident have got caught we won't utilise that.'
Speeder one of first to be filmed
A driver speeding down the A11 was one of the first people in the county to be stopped by police using the body cameras.
The man was stopped by Sgt Chris Harris after he was clocked doing 101mph on the A11 at Wymondham on Wednesday morning.
Checks also found he had no valid insurance and his Vauxhall Insignia was seized by the officer.
Mr Harris said the man quickly forgot he was being filmed after the incident.
'We always tell people initially that they are being filmed so they are aware that we are wearing body cameras as soon as practically possible,' he said. 'With the chap that I just dealt with at the roadside I informed him I was filming him and after 30 seconds he forgot all about it.'
Mr Harris added that people's behaviour tends to be less aggressive and they slightly moderate what they are doing when they realise that they can see their face on the camera.