Armed officers will be equipped with cameras
Armed police officers in Scotland will be equipped with body-worn video (BWV) cameras before the COP26 conference, the Scottish Police Authority has confirmed.
The contract to supply cameras has now been awarded to Axon, a US company that specialises in supplying weapons and technologies such as cameras, records management software and TASERs to police and the military. The £505,000 contract will see all firearms officers equipped with body-worn video cameras ahead of the UN climate change conference in Glasgow in November.
By recording events as they happen, BWV is intended to increas transparency, protecting both police officers and the public by providing evidence of what took place.
Chief Constable Iain Livingstone has described the rollout of BWV to armed police officers as a “pressing critical, ethical and operational imperative”.
All other armed police units in the UK are already supplied with cameras, so the introduction of BWV for armed officers will bring Police Scotland into line with other forces.
The use of body-worn video by armed officers also has widespread public support.
Police Scotland ran an online survey in February 2021, which had 9,000 responses, with the majority in favour of the proposals. A separate consultation is now underway on plans to introduce BWV to more police officers across Scotland.
Assistant Chief Constable Kenny MacDonald said: “Armed policing remains an area of high risk and understandable public scrutiny and as such the rollout of body worn video will help improve transparency and accountability. The safety of our officers and staff as well as that of the public remains paramount in our decision to introduce this technology.The use of body-worn video aims to lead to greater transparency, reduce and resolve complaints, as well as reducing delays to the justice system.”
He added: “While this is not new technology, and every other armed policing unit in the UK uses body-worn cameras, it is a significant introduction for Scottish policing. As such, our public engagement survey for wider use by frontline officers is essential to ensuring people have a voice and it will help us gather and address any ethical and community-related concerns where possible.”