New body worn video cameras will be piloted by Lewisham police as part of an ongoing trial into using the technology by the Metropolitan Police Service.
The borough, along with Bromley and Bexley, are among 10 to pilot the new video technology in London, which is thought to be the largest police technology trial in the world.
The cameras have been arriving at the boroughs over the past two weeks and are being rolled out to officers on two 999 response teams over the coming days and weeks.
The pilot will involve some officers wearing the cameras and recording footage that can then be used as evidence in police investigations.
Training and guidance has been given to officers taking part on how to use the cameras which will routinely collect evidence in incidents such as domestic abuse, public order and potentially contentious interactions such as the use of stop and search.
The cameras will not be permanently switched on to avoid unnecessarily impeded interactions but members of the public will be informed that they are being recorded.
The year-long pilot, which will see 500 cameras distributed to the 10 London boroughs selected, will be evaluated by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) and the College of Policing before any final decision about future roll-out is made.
South London Area Commander, Simon Letchford, 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.
“We’re hoping the use of video will help us to increase confidence in police and allow us to secure better evidence and strengthen our fight against crime. We’re already seeing positive results where domestic abuse convictions have been secured thanks to video, when it might not have been possible without that evidence available.
“Our experience in using cameras shows people are more likely to plead guilty if they know there is video evidence, which will also help to speed up the criminal justice system.”
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