Body cameras hailed as an 'absolute game-changer' by London Mayor
Body-worn Cameras and the Met
During a quarterly performance hearing at MOPAC (Mayors Office for Policing And Crime) Boris Johnson enthusiastically embraced the plan for the Met Police to roll out 16,000 body cameras across the Capital by 2016. The Metropolitan Police Chief Sir Bernard Hogan Howe, who is committed to the initiative said the cameras make available 'very powerful evidence' that 'usually, nearly always leads to a conviction'.
Boris Johnson first encountered BWC in 2013 when he visited Sutton town centre policing team to see first-hand how the technology helped officers tackle anti-social behaviour and record the responses to domestic violence incidents. The cameras are also there to assist enquiries following complaints made against officers or about police activity by the public. At that time the Mayor observed “Our hard-working officers deserve the best kit to ensure that they are equipped to face the challenges of 21st century policing. Body-worn cameras are an exciting innovation that will help cops fight crime more effectively.”
The Metropolitan Police have a Total Technology Strategy that embraces the digital policing vision. Accompanying the Mayor on the Sutton visit was the then Policing Minister Damian Green who said
“Technology has transformed the way we live our lives and it is good to see the police embracing the opportunities it presents. Body-worn Video is a powerful tool. Officers will be able to record incidents as they happen, which will provide compelling evidence against criminals and help the police to investigate crime more efficiently.
"It can also play a crucial part in improving police transparency when dealing with complaints from the public.”
Police & Crime Plan
Body-worn video is seen to play a crucial role in helping to deliver the ambitions set out in the 'Mayor's Police and Crime Plan 13-16' in March 2013. This plan was the first of it's type for London. The MOPAC is charged with setting the strategic direction for policing in the capital and is underpinned by a spirit of accountability and public consultation. Although it has formal oversight of the Metropolitan Police including budget, policies and performance review, operational matters remain the responsibility of the Commissioner.
The MOPAC plan set out three key measurable performance objectives; to reduce crime, boost public confidence in the police, and cut costs; all by a minimum of 20%. If deliverable, this should translate into 250,000 fewer crimes in London and budget savings of £500m. The Commissioner will seek to secure an investment of £9m to fund the roll out of body-worn cameras and implement back-end systems to control the data. However Boris Johnson said “I think body-worn cameras are going to be an absolute game-changer” “I've been mulling this over. I love these body-worn cameras”.