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Marine Policing Unit issued with Body Worn Video

News   •   Aug 21, 2017 12:26 BST

[Image: Officer from Marine Policing Unit wearing Body Worn Video]

Officers from the Met’s Marine Policing Unit have been issued with Body Worn Video.

Around 75 officers who work as part of the Marine Policing Unit and regularly deal with members of the public have now been given the equipment.

The Marine Policing Unit performs a number of vital roles as they police 47 miles of the River Thames from Hampton Court to Dartford and 250 miles of canals and waterways, lakes and reservoirs and other bodies of water in London.

They also provide line access capability, with specialist officers trained to work at heights.

Inspector Chris Green, from the unit, said: "We have four response teams and respond to a wide variety of crime and public order matters including pub fights and disorder on party boats on the Thames. We also carry out counter-terrorism security patrols on a daily basis as well as assisting armed colleagues who might need operational access to the water.

"One of the areas we cover that is unique to the river is search and rescue. The MPU, in conjunction with the RNLI, rescue dozens of people from the river every year as well as, sadly, recovering bodies.

"Body Worn Video (BWV) will help in all areas of our work, providing an indisputable record of events and ensuring transparency and accountability in the unique marine environment."

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 offers 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 also helps officers gather evidence and demonstrates 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.

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.

The cameras are dust and immersion protected. They are protected against all forms of dust and can withstand half an hour of immersion in water up to 1m deep.