Manufacturers of body worn video cameras are promoting the use of these lightweight, portable devices as the future of policing, not just in Britain but around the world as well.
It may seem like an idea out of a ‘Robocop’ but British police are looking seriously at the use of body worn cameras for beat officers and tactical firearms specialists. A number of forces are trialling chest-mounted and head-mounted units.
Devices from a number of the leading manufacturers in the field were unveiled at the Transport Security Expo (Transec 2014) which took place recently at Kensington Olympia in London.
At the College of Policing Conference earlier in the year, nearly all (98%) attendees said they thought body-worn video cameras (BWVCs) were a good idea while 88% thought they had a positive effect on Criminal Justice System (CJS) outcomes.
The Chief Constable of Scotland Sir Stephen House has also said that BWVCs can produce significant savings in the CJS after use of VideoBadge cameras with the former Grampian Police produced an impressive 12-month spell where 90% of cases using video evidence resulted in guilty pleas. This meant some 100 officers were spared having to attend court.
Reveal Media are at the cutting edge of BWVCs and its RS2-X2 body camera is currently being trialled as a helmet device. The camera, introduced today at Transport Security Expo’s “Innovation Hub”, is small and lightweight and perfect for being attached to a tactical helmet.
Ben Read, Marketing Executive from Reveal Media, explains:
“Since body mounted cameras have become the accepted norm in modern day policing, we are turning our attention to the future of this technology and how it could be used in specialist ways. One advantage of having a body camera that can be quickly deployed as a head camera is that the officer has choice over which is the best mounting option for each encounter, giving them some flexibility.”
Another leading provider of BWVCs, Pinnacle Response already sells its BWVCs to Police, Fire and Ambulance Services as well as civil enforcement agencies including private security firms, bailiffs, parking officers and transport security (Land & Maritime). The company – which is currently showcasing its PR5 BWVC at Transport Security Expo – says the use of this type of technology is also driven by the desire for greater transparency and accountability within policing.
Pinnacle’s Marketing Manager Margaret O’Hare says:
“BWVCs are seen as an intrinsic part of the police reforms process. They are perceived to protect both the professional and the public. A large trial has recently concluded on the Isle of Wight that saw every frontline officer issued with a BWVC and it was shown to reduce crime, increase the expediency of prosecutions and decrease the amounts of complaints against the police (there was a 30% reduction on the island compared with a 13% increase in Portsmouth for the same period). There was also widespread public support with the initiative polling over 80% public approval.”
Pinnacle also undertook several trials themselves including at a large UK shopping centre where the use of their BWVCs by security staff reported a 43% drop in retail theft and a 15% reduction in anti-social behaviour following the first quarter of a ten-month trial in 2014.
As well as providing a platform for the launch and presentation of the latest innovations throughout the security industry, Transport Security Expo provides an enhanced conference programme this year including day sessions on Major Events Transport Security, Secure Transportation, Maritime, Rail and Aviation Security.
A Security Vehicle Zone with the very latest in armoured vehicles for protection of VIPs, celebrities, high net-worth people and cash in transit is also a special inclusion this year alongside a live demonstration theatre showing a selection of typical security scenarios in action and how to remedy them, including a crowd control incident and close protection securing of a VIP.
Peter Jones, CEO of Transport Security Expo organiser Nineteen Events, explains:
“There’s no question that BWVCs are a hot topic right now and something at the cutting edge of improved policing in the UK. We’re delighted that visitors this year are getting their first look at the very latest technology in this area at TRS 2014.”
Transec 2014 was held 2-3 December 2014 at Olympia, London.