London Cops Begin Body Cameras Trial


Yesterday London's Metropolitan Police began a one-year trial of cameras being worn by police. Five hundred of the Axon Body cameras, which record audio and video, will be attached to the uniforms of officers across 10 of London's 32 boroughs.

London's Metropolitan Police force are implementing the trial after calls for increased transparency in the wake of police shooting of Mark Duggan, which sparked riots across London and other parts of the U.K. in 2011, as well as the force's use of Stop and Search (sort of like a London equivalent of NYC's Stop and Frisk).

The footage from the cameras will be stored for 31 days. Police are required to state when the camera is recording.

According to Metropolitan Police's website, smaller-scale camera trials have resulted in improved evidence and increased transparency. Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said that people are more likely to plead guilty if they know that police have been wearing cameras:

Improved evidence and increased transparency have already been achieved thanks to officers wearing the cameras in previous smaller-scale MPS trials. The footage can also demonstrate the professionalism of our officers in the many difficult incidents they face.

Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, said: "Body-worn video will not only help us fight crime and support victims but help the Met to be more accountable.

"Our experience of using cameras already shows that people are more likely to plead guilty when they know we have captured the incident. That speeds up justice, puts offenders behind bars more quickly and protects potential victims.

"Video captures events in a way that can't be represented on paper in the same detail and it has been shown the mere presence of this type of video can often defuse potentially violent situations without the need for force to be used.

"I believe it will also show our officers at their best, dealing with difficult and dangerous situations every day but it will also provide clearer evidence when its been alleged that we got things wrong. That has to be in both our own and the public's interest."

However, the Metropolitan Police also notes that the cameras will be permanently turned on:

The cameras will not be permanently switched on to ensure our interactions with the public are not unnecessarily impeded but members of the public will be informed as soon as practical that they are being recorded.

Earlier this year Reason TV's Paul Detrick sat down with Steve Ward, the CEO and founder of Vievu, a company that makes wearable cameras for cops.

NEXT: Why is the U.S. Getting Involved in the Nigerian Schoolgirl Kidnapping Case?

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  1. “Police are required to state when the camera is recording.”

    I thought they were required to ask :” Right, What’s all this then?”

    1. That comes right after the recording announcement.

    2. No, it’s

      ‘Ello, ‘ello, ‘ello, what’s all this then?

      1. ‘Ello, ‘ello, wot ‘ave we ‘ere?

  2. The last time I saw a London cop in one of those high-vis jackets, I so wanted to tell him he looked absolutely rediculous. But I didn’t have time to take a beating and sit in a holding cell, I had a plane to catch. So I sadly refrained.

    1. When I was in Dublin, those vests were everywhere. More cyclists had those on than helmets. I thought it was weird.

      1. Ironically, the more common they are, the less ‘high visibility’ they become.

        1. Next you’re going to tell me daytime running lamps are useless now that they’re ubiquitous.

          I don’t think I could live in a world where DRLs aren’t lifesaving.

          1. I see a great many drivers who fail to turn on their headlights because they can’t tell the difference between those and daytime running lights, so they assume the headlights are just always on.

            1. And when the headlights are off, so are the taillights. At least you can see daytime running lights. In the dark, you can usually catch the taillight reflectors, but if it’s raining heavily, you can damn near ram somebody with no taillights on before you seem them.

  3. This beating may be recorded for quality assurance.

  4. 31 days isn’t anywhere near long enough, at least assuming the UK judicial system moves as slowly as the US version. With storage as cheap as it is they should be able to store a years worth easily.

    Maybe they could borrow .000001% of the NSA’s storage capacity and store 100 years of audio and video.

  5. Charles Stross is smiling.

    1. CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN is no joke, dude.

      1. SCORPION SCARE is necessary to save us all.

        Rhesus Chart comes out July 1st. I already preordered it. It will be on my Kindle that very day.

        1. Oh, shit. Thanks for reminding me. I need to tell my wife not to plan on interacting with me that day.

  6. OT: Interesting. Nancy Pelosi says no one cares about the people killed in Benghazi, they care about jobs.

    1. I’m not saying the draft was a good idea, but when everybody had a couple of relatives who served, this sort of breath-taking careless disregard for the lives of people who Congress’s policies (or lack of restraint on the President’s) would have caused weeks of outrage. Someone ought to dig up Cindy Sheehan and make these guys really uncomfortable by interviewing her.

    2. The dems are beyond pathetic. A week or so ago, they were like ‘Benghazi? Why are we talking about that, we should be talking about the economy!’ And a day or so later, all they were talking about is global warming. I guess when they say let’s talk about the economy, then mean talk about finding more ways to kill it.

      1. In fairness, I would say they care as fervently about climate change and the economy as they do about Benghazi.

        1. They care about climate change lining their pockets through inciting public hysteria over ghosts and goblins.

  7. Do limey cops have guns? How many grannies and people holding cell phones did they shoot last year? How many puppycides?

    1. No. Most do not. But that doesn’t stop those who do from shooting innocent Brazilians in the head.

      1. I was wondering why I haven’t heard about that on Globo, but I guess because it was 2005.

        The limeys aren’t exactly winning any popularity contests in Brazil right now, anyway, because of the treatment that Glen Greenwald’s partner received when he was there.

      2. All in all it’s just another brick in the wall
        All in all you’re just another brick in the wall
        Just another blunder
        Just another lousy call
        Just another clap of thunder
        And apologies ring hollow
        From the guilty in Whitehall
        And there’s no hint of sorrow
        Just the whitewash on the wall
        Just one man dead
        And nothing is gained
        Nothing at all
        And Jean Charles de Menezes remains
        Just another brick in the wall

        “The Ballad Of Jean Charles de Menezes”
        by Roger Waters

  8. However, the Metropolitan Police also notes that the cameras will be permanently turned on:

    The cameras will not be permanently switched on to ensure our interactions with the public are not unnecessarily impeded but members of the public will be informed as soon as practical that they are being recorded.

    This is why I have my 5 year old proofread everything before I post.

    1. What’s the point of a camera which the officer has any control over? It’s supposed to monitor the officer and how they interact with the public. Letting the officer turn it off defeats the purpose.

      1. It’s supposed to monitor the officer and how they interact with the public.

        You should know by now that stated intentions and actual intentions aren’t always the same thing. The cameras are to get more convictions, not monitor officers.

  9. Don’t all the CCTV cameras have some sort of non-compete agreement with the bobbies?

  10. My experience with British cops makes me glad I don’t live in Britain (along with many other reasons). The only thing that keeps them from being worse than American cops is that they aren’t as well-armed, but that is changing. The cop lobby over there has been pushing for full arming for the last 15 or so years, it reached a fever pitch after the 2007 bombings.

    The quality (or lack thereof) of American cops varies regionally (Hell, it can vary wildly in the same jurisdiction), but the quality of British cops is almost universally bad. I shudder to think what life will be like once they are fully armed (which will happen).

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