Mayoral hopeful Dame Tessa Jowell has called for the mandatory filming of all stop & search encounters between police and Londoners.
Last month Boris Johnson gave the go-ahead for every neighbourhood and response officer in the Met to be equipped with body-worn video cameras in what’s believed to be the largest deployment of the technology in the world.
The Met’s cameras will record a constant 30-second buffer which is automatically deleted unless officers set the cameras to record the entirety of any encounter when the initial 30-seconds of footage will be amended to the recording.
Dame Tessa says use of the cameras must not be left to the discretion of officers and has called for the publication of clear guidance mandating their use for all stop & search incidents.
The demand is contained in a new report published by Jowell and Labour peer Baroness Doreen Lawrence which is aimed at building confidence between young Londoners and the police.
The pair have also called for the Met to “take immediate action to investigate and address the inconsistent and unlawful use” of slips issued to those stopped, and for officers to have more frequent training in the use of stop powers and for that training to be delivered by instructors from outside the Met.
Jowell’s campaign says the politician recognises the importance of stop & search in making London a safe place to live and acknowledges the work already done by Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe to ensure it’s used appropriately.
However they say any continued misuse risks undermining confidence in the force and suggest the routine recording of stops would provide much-needed reassurance that officers are using the power correctly.
Dame Tessa, who is one of six contenders hoping to be Labour’s 2016 Mayoral candidate, said: “Body-worn cameras will increase trust between police and communities, but only if they are used properly.
“We need the Met and City Hall to be clear that officers are required to turn their cameras on. It should be mandatory for the camera to be on during all Stop & Search and all Stop & Account interactions between the police and members of the public.
“Cameras will only build trust if Londoners can be sure they are there to serve citizens, and not just the police.”
The report also calls for an annual review of Police-Community relations to be established which would be chaired by Baroness Lawrence and bring together representatives from the Met, community groups and young people.
Lawrence commented: “There are practical things we can do to rebuild trust. We need to move much faster on Black and Minority recruitment in the police.
“We should strengthen officer training with an independent training provider that brings in community groups and young people in a way which is meaningful, structured and cooperative.
“And we need a truly community-led Know your Rights campaign that uses all mediums to make young people aware of their rights.”