UNIFORMED police staff and officers across Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Powys will soon be equipped with Body Worn Video (BWV).
Today (Mar 29) marks the beginning of the forcewide training roll-out for the approximately 800 police officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) who will be issued with the cameras.
The footage provides visual and audio evidence for use at court; meaning offenders are more likely to plead guilty and can be brought to justice faster. It will improve the process of investigating complaints against officers, and make them more accountable to the public. Officers will only record if there is a policing need and it is proportionate to do so.
BWV cameras will be clearly visible, worn attached to the officer’s uniform – usually on the chest. The camera is always on but will only begin recording once the officer presses ‘record’. When in ‘standby’ mode the cameras will record a rolling 30-second loop of film, there is no audio until the recording begins.
Officers will announce when they begin and end filming. When recording, the camera makes a regular loud beep and displays a solid red circle in the centre.
Chief Constable Mark Collins said: “Training for officers will begin at the end of March, and soon after members of the public will start spotting them on officers and PCSOs.
“The introduction of these cameras is in line with the national policing approach, and is a significant move forward for policing in our area. They will provide the public with more reassurance, and will help officers to document valuable evidence – leading to swifter justice for victims.
“Technology can help improve the efficiency and the effectiveness of policing. The roll-out of BWV follows a three-month trial at the end of 2015, which saw the footage captured by officers secure a number of convictions in court.
“It makes sense to us as a force to introduce BWV as we work towards digitalisation of the force. A lot of work has been going on behind the scenes to introduce these cameras and I’m pleased that they are now being rolled out.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn added: “The introduction of Body Worn Video is a positive move for the public. The use of the cameras supports transparency in policing and will aid the investigation of complaints against officers.
“Members of the public have a right to request footage of them within 31 days of any incident. I am confident that this will improve policing services.”
All footage recorded on BWV is subject to legal safeguards and guidance. The footage from the Axon Body Camera is automatically uploaded to secure cloud based storage once the device has been docked, and flagged for use as evidence at court or other proceedings. Video not retained as evidence or for a policing purpose is automatically deleted within 31 days.
If any member of the public wishes to view footage taken of them they can request, in writing, to obtain it under freedom of information, data protection laws. It must be within 31 days, unless it has been marked as policing evidence and therefore retained.