London Met police force equipped with 20 000 body cameras

Plans to equip all Metropolitan Police Officers with cameras on their uniform to help them fight crime have been announced by the Mayor of London.

Boris Johnson said he planned to buy 20,000 cameras for the majority of officers in London by March next year.

Currently the trial has seen around 1,000 body-worn cameras used across 10 boroughs in the capital, with around 6,000 video uploads per month.

The Met Police said the devices are valuable especially where police behaviour is under scrutiny, such as stop and search, where early evidence and victim testimony is crucial.

Johnson said: “This is exciting technology that will build trust, help the police do their jobs and allow the public to hold officers more accountable.”

Officers store video material from each incident and keep it on file for a month unless it is required for evidential purposes.

The Mayor said that once rolled out, the technology will be available to more officers in a single city than anywhere else in the world.

The move was backed by Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, who said: “For too long our equipment has lagged behind the technology almost everyone has in their pockets to capture events as they unfold.

“Soon, more of our officers will be able to make a record of the very challenging circumstances they are asked to deal with on a daily basis and then demonstrate, more effectively, the reality of policing our capital.”

Civil liberties supporters have said the introduction of the body-worn cameras is not the best way to perform the policing duty, as everyone will become suspicious of being filmed.

A campaign will take place to inform Londoners how the technology works and where and why they might encounter it, with a report from the London Policing Ethics Panel due to be published in September containing guidelines on how the officers should use the cameras.

The devices will be funded with money raised through the sales of under-used police buildings.

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