Mayor confirms plans to roll out 20,000 body cameras across the Met

03 June 2015

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, today (3 June) confirmed plans are underway to equip all neighbourhood and response officers across the Metropolitan police with Body Worn Video cameras, to help them fight crime and boost public confidence.

The move will make the new technology available to more officers in a single city than anywhere else in the world to date, with around 20,000 cameras arriving for the majority of uniformed officers in London by the end of March 2016.

The roll-out will follow a procurement and the completion of the Met’s formal trial ending this summer, which is the world’s largest. In trials the cameras have shown their potential to reduce complaints and increase the number of early guilty pleas, helping to speed up the justice process.

This investment puts London’s force at the forefront of innovative policing, and has been made possible with funds raised through the sale of underutilised police buildings. The top 10 sales alone, including the £370 million disposal of the New Scotland Yard site in Victoria, have raised £661million so far for reinvestment in frontline policing.

The expansion of Body Worn Video cameras is supported by the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan Howe and welcomed by officers involved in the trial, which has been running since last year. To date, the trial has seen around 1,000 body cameras used across 10 boroughs as well as armed response teams, with around 6,000 videos uploaded per month.

Officers’ feedback suggests the devices are most valuable 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. The cameras are also helping to better demonstrate the impact of crime on victims, aid professional development and training, and to increase trust in officers.

The Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime will begin a procurement process for 20,000 new devices in the coming weeks, and this summer, MOPAC will lead a London-wide public engagement exercise to inform Londoners, explain how the technology works and where and when they might encounter it.

The London Policing Ethics Panel, chaired by Lord Carlile, has written to the Mayor setting out their intention to produce the UK’s first report into the ethical guidelines around how officers use the cameras, to be published in the autumn.

Speaking to the London Assembly today, alongside the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “This is exciting technology that will build trust, help the police do their jobs, and allow the public to hold officers more accountable. Our plans for the roll-out of Body Worn Video will make the technology available to more officers in a single city than anywhere else in the world and is a giant step towards a truly 21st century police force for London.”

Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said: "I'm delighted that we will be able to press ahead with the roll-out of this technology. For too long our equipment has lagged behind the technology almost everyone has in their pockets to capture events as they unfold. Soon, more of our officers will be able to make a record of the very challenging circumstances they are asked to deal with on a daily basis and then demonstrate, more effectively, the reality of policing our capital. It will also improve public scrutiny of how we carry out our role. That is a vital part of being an accountable police officer. It is also an essential tool in gathering evidence of offences.”

Additional media

Notes to editors

  • The Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Stephen Greenhalgh, given the necessary assurance of value for money, will shortly approve the decision to begin procurement. The procurement will source a technology supplier to deliver both the body cameras and the back office support and video storage service. It will seek a comprehensive solution that provides the best technology at the best price – including the data storage requirements of so many digital devices.
  • The 12 month trial of Body Worn Video across the Met will conclude shortly and a formal evaluation will be completed and published independently by the College of Policing in September. Findings from the trial will inform the final procurement decision and the operating guidelines for the Met.
  • As part of the current trial, around 6,000 video clips are being uploaded on a monthly basis. Where they are not marked as ‘evidential’ – the footage is automatically deleted after 30 days, in line with best practice and Home Office guidelines. The evaluation aims to detect the impact of cameras on the following outcome measures: Criminal Justice Outcomes, Complaints, Stop & Search, Officer attitudes and Public Experience.
  • To view MOPAC’s latest dashboard visit www.london.gov.uk/priorities/policing-crime/data-information