Officers from Richmond upon Thames Borough will take to the streets this week wearing Body Worn Video (BWV), following the borough's official launch on Monday, 7 August.
BWV is being issued to around 250 of Richmond's public facing police officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) - cameras will also be available for specialist departments.
The cameras have already shown they can help bring speedier justice for victims. They have proved particularly successful in domestic abuse cases where there has been an increase in earlier guilty pleas from offenders who know their actions have been recorded.
The equipment will offer greater transparency for those in front of the camera as well as those behind it. Londoners can feel reassured during their interactions with the police, whilst BWV will also help officers gather evidence and demonstrate their professionalism in the face of the many challenges involved in policing the Capital.
All footage recorded on BWV is subject to legal safeguards and guidance. The footage from the camera is automatically uploaded to secure servers once the device has been docked and flagged for use as evidence at court or other proceedings. Video not retained as evidence or for a policing purpose is automatically deleted within 31 days.
Sergeant Simon Whitlock, Richmond's BWV roll-out lead, said: "Body Worn Video is an important addition to the equipment we provide to our officers; it is an invaluable tool to combat crime and one that will make Richmond safer and support both officers and the public.
"In addition to the cameras, we also have first class accompanying software to manage all data downloaded from the camera in a secure, systematic and professional manner. It is fully integrated with existing Met crime reporting methods and procedures for conveying evidence from the scene into the evidential chain for admission at court. Its use is proven in increasing conviction rates, reducing confrontation and complaints against police officers and informing sentencing decisions at court.
"It can sometimes be difficult to articulate what officers have witnessed, however with both an audio and visual capability, the footage it captures at a scene will provide a compelling addition to the evidence we are able to present.
"Body Worn Video will provide further reassurance to the communities in Richmond of our enhanced ability to support victims of crime and directly record criminal behaviour and its consequences."
If the public wish to view footage taken of them they can request, in writing, to obtain it under freedom of information and data protection laws. The request must be within 31 days of the incident unless it has been marked as police evidence and therefore retained.
The cameras are worn attached to the officer's uniform and do not permanently record. This ensures interactions with the public are not unnecessarily impeded. Members of the public are told as soon as practical that they are being recorded. When the camera is recording, it is highly visible with a flashing red circle in the centre of the camera and a frequent beeping noise when it's activated.