Mayor Boris Johnson has given the go-ahead for every neighbourhood and response officer in the Met to be equipped with body-worn video cameras following a successful trial of the technology.
The cameras record a rolling 30 second loop of what they see which is automatically discarded unless the officer presses the ‘record’ button in response to an incident.
In such circumstances the initial 30 seconds of video is retained and attached to the resulting recording.
According to City Hall, officers taking part in the trial have said the cameras have proven useful in situations “where trust is key and police behaviour is under scrutiny, for example in Stop and Search, and where early evidence and victim testimony is critical such as in cases of domestic abuse.”
Appearing before the London Assembly on Wednesday, Mayor Johnson said the cameras would drive up support for the Met while helping the force cut crime.
He added: “Our plans for the roll-out of body-worn video will make the technology available to more officers in a single city than anywhere else in the world and is a giant step towards a truly 21st century police force for London.”
The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime will now begin procurement of 20,000 new cameras and expects most to be deployed by the end of March 2016.
Met Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, said: “Soon, more of our officers will be able to make a record of the very challenging circumstances they are asked to deal with on a daily basis and then demonstrate, more effectively, the reality of policing our capital.
“It will also improve public scrutiny of how we carry out our role. That is a vital part of being an accountable police officer. It is also an essential tool in gathering evidence of offences.”
Joanne McCartney, Labour’s policing spokesperson on the London Assembly, says the routine use of the cameras “could massively improve public trust in the police and help capture essential evidence.”
However she called on the Mayor and Commissioner to ensure both Londoners and officers “understand the rules on when incidents should be recorded” and for “proper training to prevent misuse and ensure officers don’t unnecessarily infringe on people’s civil liberties.”