Officers from the Met's Territorial Support Group (TSG) will this week be issued with Body Worn Video (BWV), completing Phase One of the project's roll-out.
Today, Monday, 23 January, will see the deployment of Body Worn Video to around 600 TSG officers, culminating in more than 7,500 officers receiving the new equipment in London so far.
Over the coming months, cameras will be issued to the remaining Taskforce team (Marine Policing Unit, Dog Support Unit, Mounted Branch and the Automated Number Place Recognition units) as well as a further 22 Boroughs and officers on front-line specialist roles, including overt firearms officers.
The BWV will offer greater transparency for those in front of the camera as well as behind it. Londoners can feel reassured during their interactions with the police, whilst they will also help officers to gather evidence, and demonstrate their professionalism in the face of the many challenges involved in policing the Capital.
In December, Taskforce officers, including TSG officers made a total of 944 stops and searches which resulted in a 25 per cent arrest rate and a 36 per cent positive outcome rate. Positive outcomes can include cannabis warnings, penalty notices and summonses.
The cameras have already shown they can help bring about speedier justice for victims. This has proved particularly successful in domestic abuse cases where there has been an increase in early guilty pleas from offenders who know their actions have been recorded.
All recorded footage from BWV is subject to legal safeguards and guidance. The footage from the Axon Body 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.
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. This request must be made within 31 days, unless it has been marked as policing evidence and therefore retained.
The cameras will be worn attached to the officers' uniform and will not be permanently recording. This ensures that police interactions with the public are not unnecessarily impeded. Members of the public will be told as soon as practical that they are being recorded and when the camera is recording, it is highly visibly - notably by a flashing red circle in the centre of the camera and a frequent beeping noise once the camera is activated.
Chief Superintendent Craig Haslam, the Met's Taskforce lead, said: "The introduction of Body Worn Video for colleagues working in the Taskforce is great news. Trials show the footage helps us present clear evidence and secure convictions at court.
"Equipping Territorial Support Group officers with this technology will also show their outstanding professional conduct whilst operating in often dangerous and high intensity situations.
"I believe this will be a positive step in enhancing public confidence in the Taskforce and wider Met."
The following case study highlights how Body Worn Video (BWV) can increase the number of offenders entering an early guilty plea, knowing their actions have been recorded.
On 30 December 2016, Lewisham officers assisted bailiffs to evict squatters from a bank on Deptford High Street in Lewisham.
A PC was standing outside the venue when he was approached by the suspect. In an unprovoked attack he pushed the officer in the chest and then tripped him over, causing him to fall to the ground cutting his head open. He was taken to hospital with injuries to neck, back and head.
Robert John Byles, 44 (04.01.72), of no fixed address was arrested at the scene on suspicion of actual bodily harm on a police officer. Byles made several admissions during his arrest, captured on the arresting officer's BWV.
He was subsequently charged with actual bodily harm on a police officer and appeared at South East London Magistrates' Court on 1 December 2016. During the hearing, Byles pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 12 weeks imprisonment - suspended for 12 months - and fined £115 in compensation.