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Body-worn cameras rolled out to Barking and Dagenham police

PUBLISHED: 17:17 20 March 2017 | UPDATED: 17:27 20 March 2017

PCs Martin Bly and Kevin Wade with Barking and Dagenham borough commander Sean Wilson, second from right, and Redbridge Partnership's Insp Elise Gellatley in front of the body camera docking stations

PCs Martin Bly and Kevin Wade with Barking and Dagenham borough commander Sean Wilson, second from right, and Redbridge Partnership's Insp Elise Gellatley in front of the body camera docking stations

Archant

Officers have been armed with 1,181 body-worn cameras as part of a £3.4million drive for accountability.

The cameras were rolled out across East Area Command – comprising Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge and Havering – today five months after the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime forked out for 22,000 camera across London.

Borough commander Supt Sean Wilson said the cameras, which cost about £500 each, will help protect victims of domestic abuse who have second thoughts about giving evidence in court because officers can use footage gathered from call-outs.

“Often the victim decides to withdraw [evidence] through coercion or fear,” he said. “Officers will be able to portray to a jury what the victim was feeling.

“We can now put context around the incidents officers come across.”

He said the roll-out will ensure police are also held accountable, with officers required to inform people when recording is taking place from their chest-mounted cameras, which are docked at Ilford Police Station when not in use.

“Up to a point you can see what the officer is seeing,” he said. “These will ensure police officers are doing things correctly.”

And he said the public had nothing to fear from officers filming.

“There’s CCTV everywhere, whether it’s domestic, local authority or private companies,” he said. “If the public are worried about these being in police officers’ hands, they’re already in a lot of people’s hands – including criminals.

“This will support investigations, ensure we police correctly and help with transparency.”

Speaking at the cameras’ launch at Ilford Police Station today, PC Kevin Wade said he’s often found himself in situations where a camera would be useful.

“If you’re a single patrol officer it can be your word against the other person’s,” he said. “It’s [video evidence] normally better than what we can write down and it shows a lot more.”

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