Body-worn video cameras are being used across Norfolk Constabulary by our police officers to support prosecutions and protect our communities. The cameras will provide a transparent and accurate account of events and interactions.
They will be used as an overt evidence gathering tool which can be used across a wide range of policing situations to obtain evidence and assist decision makers.
Additionally they provide powerful evidence for both the magistrates and crown courts – helping to improve the chances of a successful prosecution and bring offenders to justice.
Norfolk cameras were first used in May 2017 and are visible devices that officers wear attached to their uniform – usually mounted on their chest – to capture video and audio evidence when attending incidents.
They will be used to record the majority of incidents and encounters that officers deal with, but our officers have been trained to treat each encounter individually, ensuring the use of the devices is legitimate, necessary and justifiable.
Officers are not required to obtain the expressed consent of the person(s) being filmed. Members of the public are advised that;
- Non-evidential material is retained for a maximum of 31 days
- The footage is restricted, meaning it cannot be disclosed to third parties (without the permission of the subject) unless prescribed by law
- The material is classed as police information and can be accessed on request in writing, in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act.
When footage is captured it will initially be assessed to determine whether or not it is evidential or non-evidential – in other words, whether or not it could be used as evidence in court.
Evidential material could, if required, then be shared with the Crown Prosecution Service or the courts to support prosecution and will be stored in line with the Data Protection Act and Management of Police Information principles.
Footage which has been categorised as non-evidential will be automatically deleted after 31 days.
It is envisaged that officers will, as soon as practicable and if appropriate, tell those present that they are about to switch on the camera. The camera also has a visible red light and will produce an audible beep when activated to give additional confirmation.
No, the cameras will not always be recording. The use of the devices will be incident specific and should be proportionate, legitimate, necessary and justifiable.
It is anticipated that the cameras will help officers prevent and detect crime by gathering footage at the most important time. This may include when victims may be reluctant to proceed with enquiries in cases, such as domestic violence. Officers will also capture their own behaviour, meaning we may be able to improve the way that certain incidents are dealt with.
Additionally, due to the devices being visible to members of the public and featuring a forward facing screen, the cameras will be valuable in public order situations where individuals can see they are being recorded and are therefore more inclined to positively change their behaviour.
Norfolk and Suffolk will be rolling out cameras in three phases, with the first phase seeing around 300 officers issued the devices. It is anticipated that all operational officers will have one personally issued as part of their uniform. Other policing functions that are not active in frontline policing will have access to a shared device if required for a policing purpose.
Currently, officers who have use of the devices are: frontline roads policing officers, firearms and dog units and dedicated licensing team officers.
The camera acts as a video and audio recording device and evidence capturing tool. In the majority of cases it will be attached to the officer’s outer body armour.
The first phase of the project will cost just under £1million.