Scotland Yard is facing calls to improve how it consults Londoners over its use of body worn cameras after a Freedom of Information request revealed that just one member of the public has provided feedback so far.
Last April the force began trialling the cameras – which record officers’ interactions with the public – in ten boroughs as part of efforts to boost public confidence in the police and cut the cost of fighting crime.
Footage captured can be used to support or disprove complaints against officers and is expected to speed up convictions by making it harder for offenders to deny their culpability.
As part of its trial the Met published a dedicated email address “to obtain public feedback”.
However an FOI response published on the force’s website reveals that just twelve emails have been received at this address, of which only one came from a member of the public.
The remaining eleven emails “are either internally generated (i.e. staff reporting faulty equipment or referring to operational matters) or externally generated (i.e. emails concerning public order conferences and other police related matters).”
Caroline Pidgeon, a Liberal Democrat member of the London Assembly and a supporter of the cameras, says the force needs to do more to ensure Londoners have their say.
Commenting on the FOI response, she said: “The technology should make the police more accountable to the public and help route out police malpractices committed by a very small minority of police officers.
“I think it gives the public confidence in policing too. At the same time the technology can assist the police in providing robust visual and audible evidence to the CPS and to courts, therefore making huge cost savings. In many respects the technology should be a win-win for everyone.
“However the use of the cameras is nonetheless an important new development in policing and the public should be fully informed and able to comment on this trial.
“It would appear that the Met are failing to engage with the public and properly publicise this trial. I hope they will urgently review this.”
A Scotland Yard spokesperson insisted it had held “ongoing stakeholder engagement” with community groups throughout the trial.
They added that “formal public consultation will only take place subject to approval of formal roll out from the Mayors Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC).”