In the world’s biggest pilot scheme of its kind, London’s Metropolitan Police is today deploying 500 wearable cameras as part of its officers’ emergency response kit.
Provided by Taser, the Axon Body cameras have a 130-degree field of view, can record over 12 hours of continuous footage, and are hardy enough to survive being run over by a car.
In a briefing at New Scotland Yard on Wednesday, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley explained that the use of this equipment will help convey “the rawness and the awfulness” of the situations officers respond to. It will also assist with identifying perpetrators in chaotic situations and record vital evidence that might otherwise be missed. More guilty pleas, fewer cases falling apart, and a reduced need to go to trial — that’s the ambitious set of goals expected to be achieved through today’s deployment.
Rowley cited the established use of cameras by traffic cops as indicative of the impact he anticipates seeing. Conviction rates and guilty pleas rose dramatically as a result of that change. “We are testing this with a view to how to do it, not whether to do it,” continued the Met’s assistant commissioner, underlining that while this is a trial, the questions being answered will be ones of practicality rather than overall strategy.
Cops with cameras are now a thing in London, and it doesn’t seem like they’ll be going away.
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