Body cams not working properly

Police on the weekend beat in Limavady town centre will be equipped with hand held video cameras after the town’s top cop revealed body worn cameras purchased more than a year ago aren’t working properly, the ‘Journal’ can reveal.

The body cams can be worn on officers’ helmets and vests and, in G District, were piloted in Limavady more than a year ago as another tool for police to prevent crime among weekend revellers engaged in anti social behaviour.

The approximate cost of the cameras was £5,000, including costings for related IT equipment/software. This was funded by the Northern Ireland Office.

However, PSNI Area Commander Sam Donaldson has revealed the tiny piece of kit can cut out, depending on the battery life.

Chief Inspector Donaldson stressed the cameras, recommended by the Home Office, are being used periodically because the equipment is letting them down, so they aren’t using them as much as liked. He said having equipment with the ability to record evidence is a tremendous tool for police.

“The kit has let us down,” he said at a meeting of the Limavady District Policing Partnership on Wednesday.“ Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t.”

Mr. Donaldson said while there isn’t definitive evidence on the impact of the cameras to date, crime in Limavady is down, although whether that is due to the body cameras he was unsure. He also said G District has one of the lowest number of complaints against police, which could be attributed to the cameras.

“I’d like to say it’s been a roaring success, but...” he added.

Mr. Donaldson revealed he has given Operations Inspector Andy Archibald the go ahead to deploy hand held video cameras at the weekends for the night time economy. He said that is likely to happen in coming weeks.