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Twenty police officers across Ipswich are starting a three-month trial of the use of Body Worn Video Cameras (BWVs) to assess the benefit they could bring to Suffolk Police.
The BWVs which attach to the front vests of officers are being trialled by one of the five Neighbourhood Response Teams in Ipswich. Officers will be able to choose when to switch on the camera at the touch of a button, using it to record crimes that are about to or are happening in real-time.
Other UK forces have trialled the use of BWVs and found a reduction in minor assaults and decrease in aggressive behaviour towards police officers when they are aware that their actions are being recorded. This in turn has resulted in a direct reduction of anti-social behaviour and assaults on police officers.
The use of cameras can assist in the prosecution process with more cases being resolved at an earlier stage due to better evidence gathering of injuries, damage caused and first accounts. With moving video footage it is harder for individuals to dispute charges and can result in a higher proportion of guilty pleas.
There are also direct benefits to the officer such as reducing time spent in court, minimising administration and decreasing bureaucracy which means more officer time spent on the streets and keeping Suffolk safer.
Chief Inspector Steve Denham said: “This is an exciting trial as it could bring Suffolk Police a range of benefits including performance, efficiency and more convictions.
“It is anticipated that it will be a viable and cost-effective way of delivering modern policing making use of 21st century technology in the fight against criminals.
“Not only are there direct benefits to members of the public but also officers, victims and the Crown Prosecution Service.”
Tim Passmore, Police and Crime Commissioner said: “Anything that reduces bureaucracy and makes life on the streets safer for our police officers has my full support.
“I was very interested to see the cameras in use and I will monitor this trial with great interest. My police and crime plan specifically refers to my commitment to officers and staff. I want to be sure they have the equipment, training and resources to enable them to perform their roles; the Chief Constable and I are united in this commitment. This will also help to catch and convict criminals and reduce anti-social behaviour.”
Posters will be placed within the Ipswich area making members of the public aware that some officers will be wearing the cameras.