St Helena police officers to wear body cameras

Body-worn cameras have been ordered for St Helena Police to improve evidence gathering.

Officers wear the cameras alongside radios (picture: West Midlands Police)
Officers wear the cameras alongside radios (picture: West Midlands Police)

It has not been decided when officers will begin wearing the video cameras on their uniforms, or whether they will be worn routinely.

Trevor Botting, the island’s Chief of Police, has been studying guidance on the kit after its use was recommended in the Lucy Faithfull Foundation’s report on sex abuse on St Helena.

In 2014, Staffordshire Police became the first force in Europe to equip all its personnel with body-worn cameras, saying they were more effective in securing prosecutions than an officer’s written notes.

The county’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Ellis, said of the move: “It will protect people who are being arrested and it will save a vast amount of time by providing actual pictorial evidence in court rather than thousands and thousands of words.”

A man was jailed in February 2015 for an attack on a policewoman that she filmed on her body camera.

The civil liberties body Big Brother Watch warned of privacy issues for members of the public being filmed without their knowledge, but said the cameras would improve the quality of evidence and save court time.

The cameras are the size of a cigarette packet and are worn on the front of an officer’s jacket. Footage is downloaded at the end of a shift and deleted after a short period if it is not needed.

Mr Botting said: “Studies and experiences from across the UK and elsewhere has shown that the use of cameras can enhance evidence gathering and lead to more guilty pleas at court and reduce complaints against the police.

“Body-worn cameras record sound as well as visual images and the cameras are worn openly by officers.

“There is no date for the introduction of body-worn cameras but equipment has been ordered. Before they are deployed it is planned that the public will be made aware of the cameras and their use through a media release.

“It is not known at this time if all officers will wear the cameras and a policy for their use is being developed.”

Jail for attack on police sergeant – BBC News
Body camera on every PC’s lapel – Daily Mail
Body-worn cameras briefing – Big Brother Watch

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