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Top cop denies claims body cameras will 'undermine trust' in the police

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MAKE sure you smile the next time you see a police officer in Croydon – as you may be on camera.

Police have been showing off their new body-worn video cameras, delivered last week as part of a pilot scheme by the Met.

Response teams, who deal with urgent 999 calls, are wearing the cameras and recording footage to be used in police investigations.

Civil liberties groups have expressed concerns that they will encroach on people's privacy.

Emma Carr, deputy director of Big Brother Watch, said the cameras had "the potential to seriously undermine trust between the police and members of the community".

But the police insist the cameras will only be switched on when necessary, and that they will tell the public they are being recorded "as soon as practical".

The cameras will mainly be used in incidents involving domestic violence or public order, where video evidence can prove invaluable for convictions, but also for interactions with the police which have caused distrust in the past, such as during the use of controversial stop and search powers.

Croydon is one of ten London boroughs piloting the scheme, thought to be the largest in the world. The findings of the year-long pilot will then be evaluated by the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) and the College of Policing before a decision on whether to roll out the cameras across the Met force area is made.

New Croydon borough commander Chief Superintendent Andy Tarrant said the cameras would help him see how his officers interact with the public.

"They give me the opportunity to identify where my officers are doing well and where they're not doing so well," he said.

"They will also help show the difficult situations that officers have to go and deal with."

South London Commander Simon Letchford hoped the cameras would increase public confidence and strengthen the fight against crime.

He said: "There are some fantastic opportunities through technology to help us improve our policing service to Londoners and I see body-worn video at the forefront of this.

"Video can show an event in a light that would be almost impossible to get across just writing it down on paper."

Top cop denies claims body cameras will 'undermine trust' in the police


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