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Small cameras will be worn by Hampshire police officers to capture evidence when they're called out to crimes.
Hampshire Constabulary's new stock of body-worn video (BWV) cameras will be rolled out across the force in spring 2013. BWV devices are visible cameras that officers will wear attached to their chest to capture video and audio evidence when attending all types of crime incidents to help support prosecutions.
First trialled by a UK police force in 2006 and 2007, the technology has been used in parts of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight since 2008. The equipment will primarily be used by the force's response teams, with Safer Neighbourhoods officers able to utilise any available cameras.
Chief Inspector Gavin McMillan, who is leading the BWV project for Hampshire Constabulary, said:
"The use of body-worn video equipment across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight has provided additional independent evidence to help support the prosecution of offenders, deter anti-social behaviour and ultimately improve community safety.
"The new generation camera being supplied to officers will provide them with the most up-to-date technology on the market. The equipment will be supported by some intelligent software that will make the management of the material obtained easier and acceptable to the Crown Prosecution Service and the courts.
"I am keen to see officers making use of the cameras at every incident they attend, as it will provide essential additional evidence that will help prevent and detect crime, and bring offenders to justice."
The new BWV equipment is being supplied by Reveal Media as part of a significant financial investment by the force to replenish its existing stock, which is coming to the end of its lifecycle.
At the current time, Reveal Media is also supporting the Isle of Wight Body-Worn Video Project (Operation Hyperion), which is the world's first county-wide deployment of body-worn video systems. Operation Hyperion will provide the blueprint for other police forces globally to replicate the infrastructure and working practices required for a large-scale roll-out of personal-issue body-worn video.
Under the Data Protection Act 1998, police forces have a duty to inform a person that their actions are being recorded on BWV for evidence in support of criminal prosecutions. This can be done by the officer stating clearly when a recording starts, or it can be as simple as the camera being obviously visible to a person being recorded.
The BWV footage is stored securely using software specifically designed for police use. The footage is stored in line with guidance from the Home Office as well as legislation including the Data Protection Act 1998, Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Human Rights Act 1998. Footage that is used as evidence will be available to the defence and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in any criminal proceedings that take place. Non-evidential footage will be deleted after 31 days.
The budget for the whole Hampshire Constabulary BWV project is £261,000,while the Isle of Wight personal issue project has been allocated funding of £47,500.