Body Worn Video helps us give victims a higher quality of service and increase the chance of a getting a conviction in court. Often we have only fleeting moments to record, as accurately as we can, the hostility, threat or gravity of an incident.
We often wish we could have seen or hear exactly what was being said, in what way and how officers handled the situation professionally. Video captures events in a way that cannot be represented on paper, to produce high quality evidence that can be shared with our partners to safeguard vulnerable victims and communities, and also to bring offenders to justice.
Body Worn Video encourages public confidence in the police by providing greater transparency – and that’s transparency for those behind the camera as well as in front of the camera.
The experience of forces across the country is that Body Worn Video reduces the number of complaints against officers. And we know also that just wearing a camera can often defuse potentially violent situations.
There are, of course, important areas of legislation that officers need to know and understand to get the best from the device. The wearing of Body Worn Video will be mandated across defined roles. We will not be recording everything or for entire shifts but, instead, we will target the use of Body Worn Video at specific incidents or where the officers' professional judgement makes it use the right thing to do.
Body Worn Video helps us protect people from harm, and better serve our public.
Protection of people in our communities
Deterrent to offending
Protection of police officers and staff
Fewer complaints against the police
Increased trust and confidence in policing
Increased number of early guilty pleas
An opportunity to learn from direct officer and staff encounters to better our service to the public
Rapid sharing of first-hand information with partners and the Crown Prosecution Services
Capturing images of CCTV footage on BWV cameras
This is an important issue that has come to light nationally in that some forces are routinely capturing images from Mobile Phones, CCTV screens/monitors with BWV cameras. However, they then fail to go on to seize or obtain the original recording in line with CPIA requirements as the ‘Master Recording’. This can present legal issues when cases arrive at court.
Taking a video or image of CCTV footage on body-worn video or other mobile device may be seen as a pragmatic way to assist with reasonable lines of enquiry whilst waiting on a formal evidential download to be completed.
It does however have the potential to create significant procedural difficulties and should only be considered for immediate intelligence purposes only (for example, where there is an immediate threat to life or to facilitate recognition of an offender at large). It must always be followed up with a valid download of the original image data.
This practice may be with the best intentions, however this is not an acceptable process for recovering CCTV/video data for evidential use. The process of recording from a monitor or other device screen adds at least seven levels of degradation and distortion to the recording and does not consider whether the system is displaying the images correctly, or if the screen you are recording the images from has been set up correctly in the first place or is even clean.
The visual conflicts created by the mobile device camera sensor and the various positions in which it is held, adds digital artefacts and skews the image, distorting features and faces increasing the risk of an incorrect identification.
Officers should be aware that CCTV is not just images or video, it is digital evidence and contains personal data subject to strict legislative controls. It is also important to note the following requirements:
• Digital Evidence must conform to ACPO/NPCC principles of which the first states: "Principle 1: No action taken by law enforcement agencies, persons employed within those agencies or their agents should change data which may subsequently be relied upon in court."
• In relation to biometric search systems (such as PND Facial), the images must conform to the relevant standard: "Images should be first generation images captured from the CCTV video data with no added or altered information."
• The Information Commissioner’s Office enforce correct handling of personal data which CCTV must adhere to. “The use of personal mobile devices is not acceptable under any circumstances: Personal data shall be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date." And "Where you use your own resources to compile personal data about an individual, then you must make sure the information is correct. You should take particular care if the information could have serious implications for the individual."
• The use of BWV to capture video or images from any another device is only seen as a last resort in response to immediate intelligence purposes for recognition only.
• Officers must ensure that if this is done, the original source recording must also be seized and treated as an exhibit in line with current working practices.