Police in Derry and Strabane became the first in the North to use special Body Worn Video technology when they introduced it to frontline officers on Tuesday.
Discussing the new cameras Chief Superintendent Stephen Cargin from the Legacy and Justice Department said: “I am pleased to say that officers from Derry City and Strabane District are the first officers within the service to use to this new equipment. They have received training for the camera and on the supporting technology to ensure that the integrity of the footage is protected, while making it as easy as possible to access and utilise this material when preparing files.
“Video evidence goes hand in hand with accountability and transparency, both of which are key elements in increasing public confidence in policing. The Police Service of Northern Ireland is fully committed to these principles as we continue to work together with the community within the context of keeping people safe.
“Our internal information and communications Services are playing an integral part in the delivery of Body Worn Video too. They have invested a great deal of effort and energy into processes to make the system user friendly.”
Justice Minister, Claire Sugden said: “I welcome the rolling out of body worn video technology, which is commencing in Derry City and Strabane District after being piloted in that area. Video evidence can provide a compelling account of the activities of victims and suspects and enables the raw emotion and action from a scene to be replayed in the courts, in a manner that could never be captured in a witness statement. This will bring a range of benefits for both the criminal justice system and victims of crime, through improving the quality of evidence and outcomes as well as potentially speeding up justice.
“It forms part of a package of measures which my Department has committed to developing to enhance the existing specialist listing arrangement for victims of domestic violence within the local court which will include measures to address perpetrator behaviour.”
A pilot scheme was run in four policing districts in 2014. The scheme evidenced the benefits of Body Worn Video. On that basis a business case was submitted to the Department of Justice and funding was secured to purchase Body Worn Video technology for officers.
The roll out of the scheme will start in Derry City and Strabane areas followed by Belfast later in the year.