Body Worn Cameras

MQT on 2010-09-15
Session date: 
September 15, 2010
Question By: 
Gareth Bacon
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


How many police officers wear body worn cameras in London and are there plans to introduce more?


Answer for Body Worn Cameras

Answer for Body Worn Cameras

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Forgive me, Gareth [Bacon]. You asked about body worn cameras, how many there are and are there plans to introduce more? There were 100. There are now 40. Many of them seem to have got broken in the course of their use. There is no plan to increase them, they were there as a pilot. Their benefit does seem to have been that they have increased the number of guilty pleas because people have felt that the evidence provided by the body worn camera was a fair cop.

Gareth Bacon (AM): Do we have any actual recorded statistics on that? I'll let you know where I am going with this question; there was a case study done in Staffordshire which I do not know if your advisers have told you about, where they used body worn cameras and they reduced the time taken to file incidents by 22%. They also gave officers an average of an extra 50 minutes per day, per officer on the beat, to do other thing rather than filling out paperwork. It reduced the number of complaints against officers using the cameras, there was a noticeable reduction in disorder and anti-social behaviour and there were a far higher number of guilty pleas thus saving lots and lots of time.

Where I am really going with this, is the direction of the Flanagan Report which talked about the use of all available technology to improve police efficiency. It does have the by-product of reducing the likelihood of spurious complaints being made against the police. I am wondering whether or not you might agree to doing a cost benefit analysis - I am aware that these are expensive pieces of equipment - to balance the cost of buying in bulk these cameras to use appropriately in London, and set that against the amount of extra time and resources spent on needless paperwork that might otherwise be avoided?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): It is a fascinating idea. The statistic I have before me is that there is no plan to increase the trial although the 40 that we currently have will continue to be used. I predict, in 20 years' time, Gareth, we will all have body worn cameras at all stages. I will be able to replay to Val every minute of my conversations with everybody about everything so that she can see it!

I am being actually quite serious; if you look at the amount of data that we capture already when people stand up with their mobile phones and simply record everything that is happening around them or record an event that they are at. There will come a time when we use technology to record our everyday experiences and then to edit them in a way that we currently do not yet understand or imagine. Body worn cameras are just a symptom of future behaviour by society.

Dee Doocey (Chair): Thank you very much. The next question is in the name of Valerie Shawcross. Question 2574. Independent Arbitration and the Freedom pass scheme.