LONDON: Head-mounted cameras are being issued for the first time to overt firearms officers, London’s Metropolitan Police said.
The head cameras are being issued to all on the Armed Response Units in the Met’s Firearms Command, allowing them to wear the new technology on their baseball caps and ballistic helmets.
The Firearms Command will receive around 1,000 of the cameras to encompass the additional firearms officers recruited as part of Operation Hercules, which is seeing hundreds more armed cops recruited in London, Xinhua reported.
More than 17,500 Body Worn Video (BWV) cameras have already been rolled out so far in London with the Met continuing to be a global lead in what is thought to be the largest rollout of body worn cameras by police in the world.
The new cameras have already been issued to frontline officers in 30 of the 32 boroughs, to officers from the Roads and Transport Policing Command, the Territorial Support Group and the Dog Support Unit.
The remaining boroughs will be issued with BWV prior to the bank holiday weekend.
“Officers who carry an overt firearm as part of their role very much welcome the use of Body Worn Video,” said Commander Matt Twist, in charge of the Firearms Command.
“It provides a documented and accurate account of the threats officers face and the split second decisions they make. The cameras also offer greater transparency for those in front of the camera as well as those behind it,” Twist added.
The introduction of head-worn cameras was welcomed by London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
“Body Worn Video is a huge step forward in bringing our capital’s police force into the 21st century and building trust and confidence in the city’s policing.
“This technology is helping to drive down complaints against officers across London and will make a real difference to those carrying firearms, increasing accountability and helping to gather better evidence for swifter justice,” Khan said.
Since September 2016, Met cops have recorded almost 785,000 videos of which 460,000 have auto-deleted from the system under the Met’s policy on retention of footage.
The deployment of all 22,000 cameras is anticipated to be complete by the end of October. These will be issued to units such as the Mounted Branch, Aviation Policing, Royalty and Specialist Protection, Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection and Specialist Crime Units.