The Metropolitan Police have signed a three year deal with Taser which will see the global security firm supply and maintain 22,000 body worn video cameras for use by frontline officers.
Earlier this year Mayor Boris Johnson gave the go-ahead for the force’s neighbourhood and response officers to be equipped with the cameras following a successful trial of the technology.
The cameras record a continuous 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.
City Hall has previously said officers taking part in the trial had found the cameras 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.”
Taser will start delivering cameras early next year and the Met says the “majority of uniformed officers” will be equipped with them by the spring.
Announcing the contract award, Mayor Johnson said: “Already these confidence boosting cameras have helped reduce complaints and make our officers more accountable.
“But it’s clear our trial simply scratched the surface and, once rolled out, these cameras have massive potential to help our officers continue their great work in fighting crime and keeping our city safe.”
Met Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan Howe, added: “I’m delighted that we will be able to press ahead with Body Worn Video. Soon, all our front line officers will be able to make a record of the very challenging circumstances they are asked to deal with on a daily basis.
“It will also improve public scrutiny of how we carry out our role which is a vital part of being an accountable police officer. It is also an essential tool in gathering evidence of offences.”