Armed Response Units to Use Body Worn Cameras

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In July 2017, figures from the independent police complaints commission showed the number of fatal police shootings in England and wales had reached the highest level in 13 years, after 6 police-armed fatalities were recorded in 2016/17.

Body Worn Cameras (BWC) are a widely used tool by police forces across the world. Police use the cameras to protect their officers and capture footage to be used in prosecutions. Armed response and firearms teams are being outfitted with head-mounted cameras due to the obstruction of view to chest-mounted cameras during firearms use. Utilising BWC technology allows for greater transparency in armed response operations and can be used to train firearms officers in best-practice.

Commander Matt Twist, in charge of the Firearms Command, said:

"Officers who carry an overt firearm as part of their role very much welcome the use of Body Worn Video. It provides a documented and accurate account of the threats officers face and the split-second decisions they make. The cameras also offer greater transparency for those in front of the camera as well as those behind it."

Armed response units deal with high pressure environments, with every officer requiring extensive preparation and training to manage incidents. Unlike other frontline police officers, armed response units will often have a weapon drawn, which can obscure the view from traditional  BWCs. BWCs are usually worn on the centre of chest, meaning their field of view would be obstructed by a drawn weapon. To counteract this issue, Edesix has designed a tactical head-mounted camera, manufactured with firearms teams in mind.

The X-100 is a side-mountable accessory camera, ideal for use on headwear, tactical goggles and glasses. It’s capable of capturing 1080p video and high-quality audio. The camera is connected to an Edesix VideoBadge VB-300 BWC, with the VB-300 attached to the uniform or to a belt pocket, leaving the more ruggedized X-100 to record from the chosen head-mounting.

The unobstructed viewing angle offered and extreme durability of the X-100 headcam make it an ideal choice for firearms teams looking to outfit their officers with BWCs. Footage taken is encrypted and has a full audit-trail, which allows the video taken to be considered evidential quality for criminal prosecution. The HD footage taken by the head cameras can be used by teams to train new officers in dealing with the specialised, complex challenges faced by armed response units, as the footage can show the best means of handling incidents.

Metropolitan police have already begun their rollout of 1000 head-mounted cameras, with West Yorkshire Police and North Wales Police quickly following suit. As Body Worn Cameras proliferate through police forces, tactical accessories, such as the Edesix X-100, will be increasingly popular across the UK.