London police to wear body cameras

Police say that cameras will help with speeding up justice but civil liberties groups argue that it is an infringement of privacy

Police say that cameras will help with speeding up justice but civil liberties groups argue that it is an infringement of privacy

LONDON - London police officers responding to emergency calls will wear body cameras in a year-long trial launched Thursday.

Two response teams with the 999 emergency services will be deployed with the cameras and the images will be deleted after 31 days unless required for evidential purposes. 

Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, said, "Body-worn video will not only help us fight crime and support victims but help the Metropolitan police to be more accountable

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He added; "Our experience of using cameras already shows that people are more likely to plead guilty when they know we have captured the incident. That speeds up justice, puts offenders behind bars more quickly and protects potential victims.

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Hogan-Howe added that officers have been told to alert members of the public "as soon as practical" that they are being recorded and the cameras will not be permanently switched on.

However, not everyone has welcomed the cameras: Emma Carr, acting director of Big Brother Watch, said: "No member of the public should be subjected to this sort of surveillance without being fully aware it is taking place and how they can access a copy for themselves."

Carr added; "There have been too many instances in the past where officers have prevented members of the public from filming incidents involving the police, citing nonsense claims that it is illegal for them to do so. If the police want to gain public support for body worn cameras, then the right to film must work both ways."

A total of 500 cameras will be distributed to officers.

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