West Yorkshire Police will equip more than 2,000 of its officers with body-worn cameras from early next year as part of a £2.9 million scheme to improve detection rates and reduce the number of complaints made against officers.
The force will give the new technology to all its front-line officers, starting with those in Bradford, in the coming months. The cameras will be worn by officers on patrol and used to record incidents such as domestic assaults, anti-social behaviour and public disorder.
It is following the Metropolitan Police, which is equipping most of its officers with body-worn video cameras after a trial found they cut allegations against the force by 33 per cent.
The scheme is being trialled in Bradford to assess potential problems and make sure it is done properly elsewhere. The cameras will be supplied by Reveal Media, who are already providing the technology to the Met as well as to police in Greater Manchester, the West Midlands, Sweden and Hong Kong.
They can be attached to the torso or the helmet and are designed to capture evidence at scenes of crime and help support prosecution cases.
US research shows the devices also stop disputes between police and the public from escalating.
A report by West Yorkshire Police into the plans, seen by the YEP, said: “Across the UK body worn video has been proven to assist officers with obtaining quality evidence leading to an increase in early guilty pleas, increased customer satisfaction, confidence and a reduction in the time spent to investigate unfounded complaints against officers.”
It added: “Other forces report that the public are supportive of the use of body worn video and such use is seen as two fold – evidential and greater transparency.”