Computer incompatibility issues have meant City of London police have been unable to share bodycam footage with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Because the two bodies use different software systems, the footage cannot be shared directly. The police instead have to transfer all the relevant footage onto DVDs. These DVDs are then delivered by hand to the CPS. It’s not only the City of London Police having this problem – it’s a common issue for the rest of the UK’s police forces, too. Currently, the only police force able to digitally share bodycam footage with the CPS is the Met Police.
A little ahead of the City of London police force, the Met in fact rolled out body cameras to 22,000 of its officers. According to the Met’s own website, the cameras have already proved they can help bring criminals to justice more quickly and efficiently.
City of London police
There are 700 officers in the City of London police force, patrolling the Square Mile. Front line officers will soon all have body cams, after a successful trial period was completed last year. While the majority of officers welcome the new technology, they are also frustrated that they aren’t able to directly and easily share any recorded footage with the CPS. These cameras are really handy in the event of a pursuit as they can can record the vehicle registration plate and the individual driving. There is also the back up of the Fleet Vehicle Tracking system which can be sourced from sites such as https://www.vehicle-accessories.net/vehicle-tracking/fleet-tracking/ that the police install in all their vehicles. This allows them to see where all their cars are and send an appropriate vehicle to them at all times.
The use of body cams has become far more widespread in the last few years, with many cyclists, particularly in busy urban environments, using helmet or body cams for their own safety.
The aim of the cameras
The cameras have so far not only led to an increase in the number of guilty pleas, but have been particularly useful in cases where it was previously one person’s word against another’s. Many officers also welcome the opportunity to be able to share evidence of the kind of behaviour they regularly have to deal with, particularly from drunk, aggressive or abusive members of the public. The cameras are not set to permanently record, and will only be used when the police officer wearing the camera deems it necessary. The mere presence of a camera has been proven to help defuse many potentially violent situations.