24 November 2015

Mayor on track to roll-out police body cameras across the Met

The Mayor of London and Commissioner of the Metropolitan police today confirmed that plans to introduce police body worn video to all frontline police officers are moving ahead, as a new report finds strong public support for the cameras.

​A three year contract to provide 22,000 body worn video devices across the Met has now been awarded, with the first deliveries due early next year. The move follows the world’s largest trial of the cameras, across ten London boroughs over 12 months. In a new report by the Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime and the College of Policing, the use of the cameras has been welcomed by Londoners and found to reduce some types of complaints and allegations against police officers.

Following the success of the trial, the new cameras will be rolled out to the majority of uniformed officers by spring 2016, and are being funded through the sale of underused police buildings. Once rolled out, the cameras will be in use by more officers in a single city than anywhere else in the world to date.

The new report suggests that the benefits of the body worn video cameras could grow as their use is expanded, and 92 per cent of the public questioned about the cameras agreed that they improve police accountability*. The cameras were found to help collect evidence and officers reported it resolved issues sooner. They did not alter the quality of policing and offered officers greater confidence if challenged, as well as footage to support their decision-making for example during stop and search and in domestic abuse cases.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, said: “This is a huge step forward in bringing London’s police force into the 21st century, by reinvesting money from the sale of old and underused buildings. Already these confidence boosting cameras have helped reduce complaints and make our officers more accountable. But it’s clear our trial simply scratched the surface and, once rolled out, these cameras have massive potential to help our officers continue their great work in fighting crime and keeping our city safe.”

Sir Bernard Hogan Howe, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said: "I'm delighted that we will be able to press ahead with Body Worn Video. Soon, all our front line officers will be able to make a record of the very challenging circumstances they are asked to deal with on a daily basis. It will also improve public scrutiny of how we carry out our role which is a vital part of being an accountable police officer. It is also an essential tool in gathering evidence of offences."

Nerys Thomas, Knowledge, Research and Practice Lead at the College of Policing, said: “This has been the largest trial of body worn video cameras anywhere in the world and has found the equipment reduced allegations against officers in the trial by a third.

“As the professional body for everyone in policing, the College is responsible for building the evidence base of what works to help officers and staff make informed decisions, including the most effective way to use resources and prevent crime. Trials like this one contribute to that evidence base and its findings, along with other policing research, can be found through the What Works Centre for Crime Reduction.”

The new contract has been awarded to TASER, as part of Axon Public Safety UK Ltd, following a full procurement process.

TASER CEO and Founder Rick Smith said: ‘This technology is driving a global trend toward smarter, more transparent policing and we're thrilled to be partnering with one of the largest and most respected police forces in the world that is at the forefront of that trend’.

This investment puts London’s force at the forefront of innovative policing, and has been made possible with funds raised through the sale of underutilised police buildings. The top 10 sales alone, including the £370 million disposal of the New Scotland Yard site in Victoria, have raised £661million so far for reinvestment in frontline policing.



 FAQ Notes

Notes to editors

​* 12,800 people per year people are questioned each year as part of the Public Attitude Survey, run by the Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC). The survey explores the way in which Londoners' experience crime and anti-social behaviour and covers a number of topics including: the local area and community, confidence and satisfaction with policing and attitudes to policing. Questions about police use of body worn video were added by MOPAC to understand Londoners’ views on the new technology.

  • The research project was a joint initiative by The Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC) and the College of Policing to build on the existing international evidence base on body worn video by carrying out an in-depth, peer reviewed investigation into the MPS’ pilot of the technology. This was the largest such pilot in any major city in the world. The research was intended to provide learning that could inform the wider implementation of body worn video in future
  • The contract award is for an initial period of three-years with the option for a single three-year extension.
  • The evaluation used a cluster randomised controlled trial 9RCT) to test the impact of BWV on complaints against the police, frequency of stop and search and criminal justice outcomes for violent incidents in 10 Metropolitan Police Service boroughs between May 2014 and April 2015.
  • The trial boroughs were: Barnet, Brent, Bexley, Bromley, Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Havering, Hillingdon, Lewisham.
  • The trial boroughs were selected based on factors including their complaint, crime and stop and search rate. The trial only focused on response officers.
  • The report found that the cameras reduced allegations against police by 33 per cent.
  • The College of Policing is the professional body for policing. It sets high professional standards to help forces cut crime and protect the public. The College is designed to give everyone in policing the tools, skills and knowledge they need to succeed.
    Researchers at the College and MOPAC carried out the randomised control trial on behalf of the Metropolitan Police and the Mayor's Office for Policing And Crime as part of its work to build an evidence base of what works in policing.

What were the key findings in the randomised controlled trial?

​Overall the findings suggest there are potential benefits of body worn video, although those related to criminal justice outcomes were not fully realised during the timescales of the trial and need the support of criminal justice partners to be achieved.

  1. body worn video can reduce the number of allegations against officers, particularly of oppressive behaviour. Complaints related to interactions with the public also reduced and, although it did not reach statistical significance, the trend in overall complaints was consistent with these findings
  2. there was no overall impact of body worn video on the number or type of stop and searches conducted. In addition, there were no differences in officers' self-reported behaviour relating to how they conducted stops.
  3. no effect was found on the proportion of arrests for violent crime. When an arrest had occurred, there was a slightly lower proportion of charges by officers in a BWV team.
  4. there was no evidence that BWV changed the way police officers dealt with victims or suspects.
  5. the Public Attitude Survey found, in general, London residents are supportive of body worn video, with their opinions of the technology positively associated with their views of how 'procedurally just' the police are, and their confidence in the MPS.
  6. officers reported a range of innovative uses of BWV, including professional development; use of intelligence; and sharing information with partners and the public.

What is a randomised controlled trial?

A randomised control trial is a method for testing the impact of a new approach or intervention. For this trial the College randomly allocated people to a treatment group - those who wore the cameras - and a control group, who did not wear the cameras.

This process helps to ensure the treatment and control groups are as similar as possible, meaning a difference in outcomes between the two groups can be attributed directly to the intervention.

In this evaluation whole teams of officers were randomised, as the impact of wearing a camera may influence other attending officers, not just those allocated to wear them.

By allocating to whole teams we can be more confident that the impact of the camera is influencing only those officers included in the treatment group. It also makes it practically much easier to manage and replicates the reality if full force roll out were to happen. There are five response teams in each borough and two teams (and all the officers in them) were chosen using random number generation to wear the cameras. 

Where can I find more evidence based policing which may impact on my work?

​There are four main areas to access the evidence base for policing.

The Global Policing Database is a web-based and searchable database designed to capture all published and unpublished experimental and quasi-experimental evaluations of policing interventions conducted since 1950.

The National Police Library has more than 55,000 books, pamphlets, theses and conference proceedings on all aspects of policing, crime and criminal justice. There is also a significant collection of material on management, law and some areas of social sciences.

Through the What Works Centre for Crime Reduction, the College produces a range of publications to help put the evidence in the hands of police practitioners, and to make it available to academics and the public. All our research publications are independently peer-reviewed to help ensure that government standards are met.

The Crime Reduction Toolkit provides easy access to the crime reduction evidence base, allowing users to weigh up evidence on the impact, cost and implementation of different interventions. It has more than 300 systematic reviews, covering 60 different crime reduction interventions.

How can the College help officers and police staff who want to carry out research?

​For this trial the College worked closely with officers and staff at the Metropolitan Police to design the trial, identify existing data that could be used to measure outcomes and provide briefing on the trial and on-going feedback, making implementation of the trial easier.

College researchers were able to share learning on implementation from its early BWV trial and provide feedback to the force on how its officers were using the equipment. This allowed the MPS to put in place measures including additional briefing and training to ensure the cameras were being used effectively.

As part of our role in building the evidence base in policing and crime reduction, the College has a track record in working closely with forces to support and encourage research projects and the evaluation of new initiatives.
We know how challenging it can be to get a new study off the ground and to assist with this we have announced a series of Research Surgeries where officers and staff can meet the College and ask questions specific to their research.

The surgeries can help you;

  • get meaningful results
  • find out how to run focus groups or interviews
  • develop a new survey
  • evaluate the effect of a new intervention

Surgery slots are typically an hour long and need to be booked in advance through the What Works for Crime Reduction website.

The next surgeries are on

16 December 20159.00 am - 5.00 pmRyton 
20 January 20169.00 am - 5.00 pmLondon 
18 February 20169.00 am - 5.00 pmHarrogate 
16 March 20169.00 am - 5.00 pmSunningdale 
20 April 20169.00 am - 5.00 pmRyton 
18 May 20169.00 am - 5.00 pmLondon 
15 June 20169.00 am - 5.00 pmHarrogate 

How do I know what research is taking place across the country?

​The What Works Centre for Crime Reduction has published about 200 ongoing policing and crime-reduction related research projects on its Research Map.

The map allows universities and other research bodies to share information on policing research they are undertaking. The map has summaries of ongoing research projects at Masters level and above it can be searched by police region; institution; level of research and research topic making it easy to find out what is happening. 

The College of Policing uses cookies to collect and analyse information about the users of this website. We use this information to enhance the content and other services available on the site. By continuing to use our site, you are agreeing for us to set a small number of cookies. You can manage your preferences for Cookies at any time, for more information please see our Cookies Policy.