From today (Wednesday 16 November 2016) Officers across Belfast City Policing District will be using Body Worn Video cameras when they are on duty.
Chief Superintendent Chris Noble explained, “We continuously strive to identify new ways to support the delivery of effective front-line policing. This includes the use of new and emerging technological solutions
“Video evidence puts the victims of crime first. The pilot of this technology in Foyle district evidenced how Body Worn Video has the potential to improve the quality of evidence provided by Police officers and thereby increase the number of offenders brought to justice. Video evidence provides a compelling account of events and enables the raw emotion and action from a scene to be replayed in the courts in a manner that could never be captured in a witness statement."
“It also supports accountability and transparency, both of which are key elements in increasing public confidence in policing. The introduction of this new technology is the latest example of our commitment to these principles as we continue to work together with the community to keep people safe."
Chief Inspector Rachel Shields who led the team responsible for the introduction of the cameras in Belfast added, “Police officers and staff have received bespoke training from our Information and Communications Services colleagues, on how to use the cameras and the supporting technology. This ensures that the integrity of any recorded footage is protected, while making it as easy as possible to access and utilise this material when preparing files for use in a prosecution."
Speaking about the roll out to Belfast Policing District, Board Chair Anne Connolly said, “As a Board we welcome this next stage of the introduction of Body Worn Video Cameras to police officers and the investment it represents for both policing and the community."
“This technology has proven to be valuable in many policing situations. The evidential benefits it can bring in assisting the prosecution of cases and particularly in cases of domestic abuse is well documented. The Board has been a strong advocate and supporter for the camera scheme and we hope the public also recognise the benefits it will bring to the day-to-day delivery of the service.”
A pilot Body Worn Video camera scheme was run during 2014/15. The pilot scheme illustrated the benefits of Body Worn Video. On that basis a business case was submitted to the Department of Justice and funding was secured to purchase Body Worn Video technology for officers across the service.
Body Worn Video technology was introduced formally to the police service in June 2016 commencing with Derry City and Strabane District, with Belfast becoming the second District to introduce the technology.