Sports enthusiasts will be familiar with the benefits of Go Pro and similar cameras which can be mounted to your helmet or body to record video footage of your exploits. Cyclists have adopted the practice in large numbers in order to gather vital evidence of bad driving causing accidents and now the police are trialling the use of the cameras to aid law enforcement.
A Question of Cost?
The cameras have been with us for quite some time now and I would have thought that the police would have been keen to adopt them before now. There could have been budgetary constraints at play but with a top of the range model only costing £375 retail the investment over the long term is not a great one.
Naturally with almost everyone including the police carrying mobile phones most people have the ability to record video footage anywhere and anytime. Phones, however, are not the perfect solution as you never know when an event is going to occur and by the time you start recording the crucial moment may have been missed. Helmet cams keep running and so will record even the most unexpected of events. Serious incidents can escalate without warning.
Police in London are about to launch on a pilot scheme to trial the cameras. 500 units will be distributed across the 10 London boroughs and will be trialled for one year. There have already been similar schemes in both Bedfordshire and Devon and Cornwell where the equipment was declared to have been a great success. The cameras, which are to be supplied by Taser International, have also been tested in the US but the London scheme will be the largest urban pilot yet.
Detection and Prevention
It is thought that the cameras will not only capture vital evidence of crime but will actually prevent it happening in the first place. Those who know they are being filmed are less likely to react violently either to the police or civilians. In addition offenders are more likely to plead guilty in court when they know that video evidence is available. Guilty pleas will save expenditure from the public purse on costly trials.
Protecting the Police
The cameras should also prove useful in incidents of alleged police malpractice such as the death of Mark Duggan who was shot by police, an event which was ruled as a lawful killing. The ruling sparked riots from protesters outraged at the police action but video footage may have provided definitive proof of what really happened.
Capture and Storage
Unlike sports cameras the Taser models will offer exceptional low-light capabilities and the footage will be automatically uploaded to the cloud where it will be stored for one month and then discarded if not required as evidence.
I am sure that in the future these cameras will be a common sight. Sports enthusiasts can vouch for their efficacy in capturing the unexpected and the incredible. Camera owners can provide proof of their exploits on the piste and white water, anglers can provide images of their tackle catching the one that got away and cyclists can film the busses that cut them up on the roads. The camera battery must be charged though. We have a helmet camera in my house which singularly failed to film my partner’s wipe out whilst skiing in Austria this year. Funny that!
Article by Sally Stacey