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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 effective.

“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.

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