Mayor hails new police camera technology to tackle crime in Sutton

19 December 2013

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson joined a town centre policing team today (Thursday 19th December) to see first-hand how body cameras can help officers on the beat fight crime.

On a visit to Sutton police alongside the Home Office Minister Damian Green MP, the Mayor got a demonstration of the cameras and went out on patrol with officers wearing the devices. Through a partnership agreement, the Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC) has funded 20 small cameras in Sutton that have been used to help tackle late night anti-social behaviour and accurately record responses to domestic violence incidents.

Body-worn video are high definition cameras that capture image and sound, and are worn on an officer’s vest. They assist them in their duties by capturing evidence of crime and anti-social behaviour and help the process of dealing with any complaints made about police activity. Body-worn video is part of the Mayor’s vision – set out in his Police and Crime Plan – to invest in new technology to support frontline policing, so the Metropolitan Police Service can deploy twenty-first century beat bobbies who can be even more effective at preventing crime and tackling disorder.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “Our hard-working officers deserve the best kit to ensure that they are equipped to face the challenges of 21st century policing. Body worn cameras are an exciting innovation that will help cops fight crime more effectively. I am delighted that Sutton police are helping London lead the way with this pilot and I am sure that before too long, body cameras will become a vital tool for the police right across London.”

Sutton Borough Commander Guy Ferguson said: “We were delighted to receive a visit from the Mayor of London in support of our continuing borough-wide initiative against violent crime in the street and in homes. The use of body worn cameras is one of the innovative ways we are working to prevent and reduce violent crime even further in Sutton, which is already a low crime borough and one of the safest boroughs in London.”

Policing Minister Damian Green said: “Technology has transformed the way we live our lives and it is good to see the police embracing the opportunities it presents.

“Body Worn Video is a powerful tool. Officers will be able to record incidents as they happen, which will provide compelling evidence against criminals and help the police to investigate crime more efficiently.

"And it can also play a crucial part in improving police transparency when dealing with complaints from the public.”

In 2012/13, MOPAC funded the Sutton Business Crime Reduction Partnership as part of community safety funding that now forms part of MOPAC’s £18 million London Crime Prevention Fund, which provides grants to local projects that tackle crime priorities across all the capital’s boroughs. Body-worn video is part of a range of initiatives to address crime and anti-social behaviour in Sutton town centre, which include CCTV cameras and partnerships with licensed premises and shops. In the last year crime in the Borough has been cut by 8 per cent.

Other pilots around the world have indicated a range of positive outcomes from body worn video, including improved evidence leading to more convictions, and reduced complaints and use of force.

 

Notes to editors

  • Recent case studies of crimes involving police camera evidence captured by officers wearing body-worn video is available on request from the MPS press office
  • Body-worn video is part of delivering the ambition of a “twenty-first century beat bobby” described in the Mayor's Police and Crime plan (March, 2013): “[B]y investing in new technology and supporting innovation, we can help empower the frontline constable to be even more effective at preventing crime and tackling disorder.”
  • MOPAC provided £10,000 funding towards the body-worn video project for 2012/13.
  • Sutton is due to receive £190,000 worth of grants from the MOPAC London Crime Prevention Fund to go towards local crime fighting initiatives for 2013-14.