Record – Rewind – Replay
This week has seen the first police related shooting in a while. The news is already filled with accusations which neither the IPCC nor the police can yet comment on.
The only way to refute such allegations is with clear hard evidence. Little is better than recorded moving images but it seems as though these will not be available in this case.
In this guest blog, serving officer @PFM1972 shares his thoughts on whether body worn video is the only option.
11 years ago I was an AFO and wore a head mounted body worn video camera which linked by a wire to a hard drive, carried inside my body armour. It was a great piece of kit for the time and recorded everything very well.
Since then Body Worn Video has become the next big thing in Policing to show what exactly happens during “contentious”, or not so contentious, events involving Policing. I am a fan of it and want all officers in uniform, or not, to wear it and use it as much as possible. It will show the fantastic and difficult work we all do at very challenging times.
This leads me to the recent events in West Yorkshire. I’m an ex firearms officer, having served in London and Lancashire. I, therefore, have experience and understanding of the kind of operation these officers were engaged in.
The question has arisen about BWV and the fact no officers were wearing any during this shooting. This is perfectly acceptable given the covert role the officers were performing. But in operations such as this, why does the camera have to be “body worn”….why aren’t/weren’t the vehicles equipped with cameras?
Technology has progressed so far that the cars could be fitted with very small cameras facing forward, or even a fisheye lens. This could, would and should support the version of events given at a post incident de-brief.
To not have them these days, and I know one Twitter commentator who will say “I told you so…” is tantamount to some eyes as a cover up. I don’t go anywhere near that far, however I do think we shouldn’t be afraid of the cameras, what they record and show and get them installed and in use for both covert and overt operations, such as the incident in West Yorkshire.
I have footage of a Taser deployment, which I recorded using my device several years ago now. I also have an email from the then head (a Chief Supt) of our professional standards department, who watched the footage and described it as a text book deployment and that the footage was excellent in discounting immediately any misconduct.
The on duty Force Incident Commander at the time and the firearms tactical adviser on the day both watched the footage and were amazed at the clarity and evidential value of the camera. That video has subsequently been used in training across the U.K. and mentioned in the original Body Worn Video Guidance issued by the then NPIA.
So my final plea is this….let’s get our cars, our officers and any other staff who want it issued with BWV or covert cameras so we don’t have to listen to anyone else accuse us of a cover up by not wearing or having them available/in use on firearms or other operations.