A new pilot is underway in the UK’s capital city, which will see up to 500 London Metropolitan Police officers being equipped with Taser‘s Axon Body wearable cameras. The initiative has started in 10 boroughs in the UK capital yesterday.
The device has a 130-degree lens, which is able to capture video. The device is so small that it and can be attached to an officer’s sunglasses, uniform or their head-mount. The aim is that the footage they can store will be used in criminal proceedings and to dispute any claims of police misconduct. Taser says that a recent study has shown that the use of body-worn cameras has led to a 60 percent reduction in the amount times that force was used by an officer. The cameras will not 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 has said.
Head of London’s Metropolitan Police Service Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, said, “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 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. This is unlike other wearable cameras that record the data locally. There are also options for pre-capture too; this is to ensure that nothing is missed.
The Metropolitan Police will trial the technology for a one-year period to monitor its effectiveness, before deciding on whether or not to roll it out across the city. Two response teams in each of the borough’s that are trialling the cameras; Barnet, Bexley, Bromley, Brent, Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Havering, Hillingdon and Lewisham, will wear the cameras as they respond to 999 emergency calls.
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[Image via uk.taser]