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Police Introduce Nationwide use of Body-Worn Cameras

Police in Highland Perthshire and across the country are set to introduce the use of body-worn cameras in appropriate situations to better serve the Scottish public.

This comes following a public survey of around 9,000 Scots in which 73% of respondents indicated that the use of Body Worn Video (BWV) would make them feel “much safer”.

Additionally, 78% of those surveyed said that their trust and confidence in Police Scotland would increase if the BWV equipment was utilised.

Assistant Chief Constable, Kenny MacDonald, is leading the introduction of BWV.

Chief Constable MacDonald said:

“Armed policing remains an area of high risk and understandable public scrutiny and as such this roll-out will help improve transparency and accountability. The safety of our officers and staff as well as that of the public remains paramount in our decision to introduce this technology.

“While this is not new technology, and every other armed policing unit in the UK uses body worn cameras, it is a significant introduction for Scottish policing and as such our public engagement survey is essential to ensuring people have a voice and it will help us gather and address any ethical and community related concerns where possible.”

Body Worn Video is for use when officers are already responding to an incident. It is routine to inform the public when Body Worn Video cameras are in use.

Police Scotland add that when operationally viable, a camera is not turned on unless the member of the public present is made aware by the officer. 

The cameras will not be used covertly or for any type of surveillance.

Martyn Evans, Chair of the Scottish Police Authority, said: 

“The use of body worn video is widespread across UK policing and the benefits to effective policing such as improved officer safety, reducing and resolving complaints against officers and an increase in early guilty pleas, have been positively evaluated in the current limited use across Scotland.

“However, it is important that whenever new technology is adopted, that the implications are fully considered through an extensive stakeholder consultation process. We welcome the launch of a public survey and would encourage as many people as possible to register their views. The SPA looks forward to considering all responses as part of our oversight of the implementation of BWV.”

Following the survey in February 2021, Police Scotland are now progressing their plans to introduce Body Worn Video to officers across Scotland to capture public interactions.

Police Scotland will conduct further public consultations in future on the public’s reaction to the scheme.

For more information on the survey data or on Body Worn Video, please visit Police Scotland’s dedicated webpage at:

https://www.scotland.police.uk/about-us/body-worn-video/

Easy Read & BSL versions of the survey will be available at the end of June 2021 and those requiring the survey in a different way such as over the phone can contact: consultations@scotland.pnn.police.uk 

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