Met Police Service partners with Azure to store body cam footage

UK police officers on patrol

Millions of hours of footage captured by police officers' body cameras will be stored and reviewed on Microsoft's Azure cloud service, in a partnership announced on Thursday.

Police forces across 32 London boroughs began using body cameras in October to automatically record footage of call outs and crime scenes, helping with prosecutions and police complaints.

The partnership between the Metropolitan Police Service and Microsoft allows data from over 22,000 body cameras to be automatically uploaded to the Azure cloud service when a device is docked at the police station. The Met Police hope this will help improve efficiency and provide secure storage of sensitive data, as the amount of video to process is becoming a burden to house internally.

The Body-Worn Video (BWV) device, roughly the size of a cigarette packet, attaches to a body vest and automatically records the officer's entire shift. The footage, which is often used as evidence in court, will now be stored within UK datacentres at sites in London, Cardiff and Durham.

"The Met has selected Microsoft Azure as we believe their UK data residency and transparency around secure data management offers both the public and the Police service reassurance that this technology is being used effectively to support the prosecution of offenders, the safeguarding of information and build confidence in policing," said Met Police superintendent Adrian Hutchinson.

A pilot scheme launched in September to test the new body camera technology resulted in a 93% drop in the number of complaints made against police officers. The rollout, which has cost the UK government almost £10 million, has made the Metropolitan Police the world's biggest user of the technology.

"We are delighted that the Metropolitan Police Service has recognised that Microsoft's UK data centres and Azure platform are the perfect enablers of this service and we look forward to supporting the expansion of this scheme, which has the real potential to reduce crime across the London area," said Nicola Hodson, marketing general manager at Microsoft UK.

The partnership comes after the Ministry of Defence announced in September that it would be migrating its computing from internal military networks to Microsoft Office 365 and Azure cloud datacentres in the UK.

"When it comes to collecting evidence via BWV that will help safeguard the public and protect our police forces, the need to store masses of information securely yet ensure it is accessible by authorised personnel is paramount," added Hodson.

To date over 174,000 BWV cameras, developed by Microsoft partner firm Axon, have been purchased globally across 3,500 security agencies.

Dale Walker

Dale Walker is the Managing Editor of ITPro, and its sibling sites CloudPro and ChannelPro. Dale has a keen interest in IT regulations, data protection, and cyber security. He spent a number of years reporting for ITPro from numerous domestic and international events, including IBM, Red Hat, Google, and has been a regular reporter for Microsoft's various yearly showcases, including Ignite.