All Hillingdon police to wear video cameras to boost evidence and 'speed up justice'

All of Hillingdon's policemen look set to have video cameras attached to their uniforms as standard by the end of 2016, the borough’s commander has indicated.

The Hillingdon team trialled a scheme about a year ago using 'body worn cameras' and Commander Downing hopes his officers will all be equipped before next year.

The recording devices, pictured above, “speed up justice”, put more offenders behind bars and potentially defuse delicate situations, police chiefs have said.

Two of the Hillingdon response teams were part of the initial pilot and they have still got the devices, which Hillingdon Borough Commander Nick Downing, pictured below, described as 'fantastic'.

nick downing

He said: “We are hoping that by the end of the year all officers in Hillingdon will have body worn video and I think that's a step in the right direction and my officers can't wait to have it. They have seen the pilot, they can see what technology brings.

“The evidence we can get from body worn video is brilliant and not only that, but it has additional bonuses for us and the community. It increases confidence in policing 100%.”

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Responding to questions from Hillingdon is Here about police and technology, he said: “We are not hiding anything and actually, because of that technology, complaints are down for those officers wearing those body worn video cameras.”

In trials, the cameras have shown their potential to reduce complaints and increase the number of early guilty pleas, helping to speed up the justice process, the Metropolitan Police Service has said.

Commander Downing, speaking as part of a Q and A initiative for Hillingdon-based crime awareness Facebook groups, said his team will be evaluating how many cases where body worn video was present have so far led to a conviction at court.

This will demonstrate how they can speed up the time between an arrest and prosecution, he said, meaning officers spend less time at court and that justice is served more quickly. He said this was particularly important for the victims of these crimes.

Commander Downing added: “So, it is all good as far as I am concerned around body worn video.”

He also revealed that the force is set to roll out a scheme to provide tablet computers for officers.

He explained: “This means that when an officer attends the scene of a crime and they are there to do the primary investigation and work with the victim, they can do it and put all the details straight onto computer, rather than going back to the station and then do, what I would say is 'double keying', placing it back onto another system.

“Again, it's saving time which means that they are out on the streets longer, which will be great from a deterrent point of view, and (they will be) deployed into the rights areas to help prevent crime.”

For news about the latest with the force's project to provide home owners with Smart Water kits, check the site again later this week.

Regarding how often the cameras are recording, the Met previously stated: “Cameras will not be permanently switched on to ensure our interactions with the public are not unnecessarily impeded but members of the public will be informed as soon as practical that they are being recorded.”

Officers who took part in the pilot scheme were issued with strict guidance about when cameras were to be used, officials said. This meant they would routinely collect evidence in incidents such as domestic abuse and public order but also for potentially contentious interactions such as the use of stop and search.

The Met's Chief Inspector of Operations Rob Wilson has also spoken of the benefits of the body worn cameras previously. He said: "Securing evidence to provide justice for vulnerable victims, especially in domestic abuse cases, will be one of the benefits of officers wearing body-worn cameras.

“We are already starting to hear that the use of cameras has contributed to early guilty pleas where offenders know an incident has been recorded. Ultimately this new kit will speed up justice, assist us to put offenders behind bars more quickly and protect potential victims and the wider community."

He added: "Video captures events in a way that can't be represented on paper in the same detail and it has been shown the mere presence of this type of video can often defuse potentially violent situations without the need for force to be used.”

Boris premier inn1

Boris Johnson, pictured above, Uxbridge and South Ruislip MP, has said: “This is exciting technology that will build trust, help the police do their jobs, and allow the public to hold officers more accountable.”

The scheme is being rolled out across London. Body worn video will be available to more officers in a single city than “anywhere else in the world and is a giant step towards a truly 21st century police force for London”, Mr Johnson added.

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