The small device has a 130-degree lens to capture video and can be attached to an officer’s sunglasses, uniform or head-mount; all ultimately in the hope that the footage they store can be used in criminal proceedings, and to dispute claims of police misconduct.
It works the other way too, though. Taser says that a recent study has shown that use of body-worn cameras led to a large reduction (60 percent in that case) in the amount times force was used by an officer.
“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,” the head of London’s Metropolitan Police Service Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said.
Unlike some other wearable cameras, the captured footage is sent via Bluetooth to a smartphone (iOS or Android) and then saved automatically over a mobile data connection to Taser’s cloud platform Evidence.com, and there are options for pre-capture too, to ensure that nothing is missed.
The Met Police will trial the tech for one year to monitor its efficacy, before deciding on whether to roll it out more widely. The cameras won’t be switched on all the time, but members of the public “will be informed as soon as practical that they are being recorded”, a spokesperson said.
Two response teams in each borough (Barnet, Bexley, Bromley, Brent, Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Havering, Hillingdon and Lewisham) will wear the cameras as they respond to emergency 999 calls.