‘Police, camera, action’ … literally!
Police officers across West Yorkshire are to be fitted with smartphone-sized wearable cameras when called out to incidents in an effort to increase transparency and improve public confidence.
The move announced by West Yorkshire Police is part of a research project with Cambridge University and will see 160 body-worn cameras used by a number of different front-line response officers.
Head cameras are already used on occasion by officers investigating domestic violence but the new technology, which will be in place from this month, will be used much more widely.
Bosses will assess how well the cameras work in providing data and evidence to potentially be used in court before deciding whether to introduce the devices on a permanent basis around the county.
West Yorkshire Police officers will also be told to contact their control room whenever they carry out a ‘stop and search’, after concerns were raised by young people and members of minority communities.
Information about the search provided by the officer will be put directly onto a computer system, meaning information about the incident is available to be scrutinised later.
Chief Constable Mark Gilmore said the change would “enhance openness and accountability” and also “avoid lengthy form filling at a scene and reduces inconvenience to the public and officers”.