Police trial Body-worn video begins

​The first evidence-based trial on the use of body-worn video in cases of domestic abuse will begin this week.

Our researchers will be working with response officers from Essex Police who will be wearing body-worn video cameras to tackle domestic abuse.

The force will test whether body-worn video cameras improve the evidence that officers capture when they attend domestic abuse incidents, and the outcome of those cases (such as early guilty pleas).

Our researchers will help the force to assess whether the cameras make a difference, which will benefit the wider police service.

The Metropolitan Police Service is also trialling body-worn video and will focus on the impact the equipment has on complaints from the public and on stop and search encounters. The cameras' effectiveness in helping the police solve crime and secure convictions will also be examined.

The trial, expected to start before the spring, will be the largest to date and will be a flagship design for other forces to replicate. Metropolitan Police Service researchers, with support from our research team, will also be exploring the value for money and potential cost savings from using the cameras.

We will also provide advice and support to the Metropolitan Police Service around its trial of body-worn video cameras for firearms officers.

A small-scale trial in America has recently shown that body-worn video can reduce the number of public complaints and police use of force. Our trials will build on this emerging picture and help to develop the evidence base in England and Wales.

Using the experience of Essex and the Metropolitan Police, we plan to provide support to other forces across the country which are expected to start similar trials later in the year; details of these will appear in future editions of this newsletter.

Evidence from the trials will be submitted to the What Works Centre for Crime Reduction, which is part of a world-leading network of centres to guide decision-making in public services. The centre aims to identify the best available evidence on approaches to reducing crime and provide the knowledge, tools and guidance to support practitioners and decision makers to target their resources more effectively.

This article appears in the January 2014 edition of our newsletter.

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