POLICE IN MORAY were amongst those leading the way when they started wearing body cameras over three years ago – now officers in newly amalgamated North East division are four times more likely to be filming arrests than police in any other part of Scotland.
Following an 18-month trial run in Aberdeen by the former Grampian Police, the body-worn cameras were introduced to Moray when 65 were deployed at a cost of around £250,000 in 2012.
Now it has been revealed that throughout the North East division there are around 340 in use – over four times the 80 cameras in use by police throughout the rest of the country.
When they were launched in Moray, Chief Inspector Willie Findlay said that his officers who had the devices on trial provided an “extra layer of transparency”, with the video produced by the cameras having been used in several court cases with effective results.
Three years later the cameras are now common place in Moray, Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen – and now other divisions throughout Scotland are set to adopt their use, with Superintendent Brian Cook of the Police Scotland college in Perthshire saying: “The deployment of body-worn video across Police Scotland is being closely scrutinised.
“There are a number of benefits to the deployment of body-worn video – there are also some significant challenges in terms of police IT infrastructure and network capacity to support a full national deployment of this technology.
“The capture, storage, transmission and viewing of all forms of digital evidence, will benefit from a collaborative approach between all the key criminal justice partners and this will form a central core to activities going forward.”
A cautious approach remains however, with widespread public consultation likely to take place before the cameras become commonplace.
Meanwhile in Moray as in the entire North East division the cameras remain a vital tool in routine patrols, specific events and operations or during anti-drug operations.