Study shows body worn video cuts complaints
A national study, supported by West Midlands Police, has shown
how the use of police body worn video can dramatically reduce the
number of complaints against officers.
West Midlands Police was a participant in the Cambridge
University research, which showed that, nationally, complaints by
members of the public against officers fell by 93 per
cent over 12 months compared with the year before.
The force is currently in the process of rolling out body worn
video (BWV) to all 1,261 response officers following a successful
pilot, earlier this year, on Birmingham
South and Wolverhampton LPUs.
The pilot found the video devices helped secure an increase in
charges, early guilty pleas, as well as a reduction in officer
complaints, the use of force and the length of case durations.
"We are genuinely delighted at the overwhelmingly positive
feedback we have received so far," said project lead Chief
Superintendent Chris Todd.
"As well as the clear evidential benefit provided by the
cameras, this is very much about providing a tool to support and
protect our frontline officers.
"In the past, minor assaults, such as spitting or pushing, have
often been very difficult to prove - it was one word against
another. Now with the cameras, officers have visual evidence of
these types of assault and therefore the full confidence to report
and bring these offenders to justice."
Almost 2,000 officers across four UK forces and two US police
departments were monitored for the project.
Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson
added: "By investing in Body Worn Video cameras we are making
policing in the West Midlands more efficient and more
"Police are able to obtain the evidence to charge more people
and cut down the length of cases by using video evidence. Criminals
are realising this and early guilty pleas are up too − which saves
police resources and reduces the stress placed on the victim."
The findings showed there were 113 complaints made against
officers in the forces taking part in the study during the year
trial period, compared with 1,539 in the 12 months before - a
reduction of 93 per cent.