Met Police to trial body cameras

Police on patrol

Metropolitan Police officers are to wear cameras on their uniforms in a bid to increase police transparency.

Five hundred of these cameras, which are designed to capture evidence at crime scenes, will be distributed across 10 London boroughs. The scheme has followed criticism the Met received in the wake of the Mark Duggan shooting, the event which sparked the London Riots three years ago.

The first borough to experience the pilot will be Camden, with further trials moving to Barnet, Bromley, Brent, Croyden, Ealing, Havering, Hillingdon and Lewisham. Images captured by the officers will be stored on file for one month unless needed for evidence.

Commissioner at the Met, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, said: "Our experience of using cameras already shows that people are more likely to plead guilty when they know we have captured the incident. That speeds up justice, puts offenders behind bars more quickly and protects potential victims.

"The mere presence of this type of video can often defuse potentially violent situations," he added.

The Met has confirmed the cameras will not be switched on permanently and people will be informed if they are being filmed. Officers taking part in the pilot have also been educated in the guidelines of their use.

Jack Hart, a member ofThe Freedom Association, said the move means "everyone is under suspicion".

"To create a situation where both police officers and the public feel constantly under suspicion is not sensible and undermines trust in all sectors of society," he added.

Other forces in the country, like Hampshire and Devon and Cornwall, already use the cameras, while Bedfordshire announced that they would be implementing them following a successful trial.