Essex officers to wear body-worn cameras when attending incidents of domestic abuse

09:27 07 January 2014

The Essex Police trial which sees response officers equipped with body-worn video cameras to tackle domestic abuse starts next week (Friday, January 17).

Researchers from the College of Policing will be working closely with the force on the initial three month trial, which will see Essex Police take the lead nationally with this new evaluation approach.

The force will seek to improve the quality of evidence that is gathered during the initial attendance at incidents of domestic abuse.

Chief Insp Nick Lee, from Response and Patrol, is leading the implementation of the cameras. He said: “The trial will use equipment already owned by the force, but will focus its use in a new way.

“We want to find out if video evidence will lead to more convictions for domestic violence and in particular cases where victims are too frighten to give evidence themselves”.

“Initially 80 officers from Response and Patrol will be given a body-worm camera and will be expected to have these turned on whenever they attend an incident of domestic abuse.

“The College of Policing will then look at the results of the video captured cases compared to those that have no video.”

“This is a great opportunity for Essex Police to lead the way in evidence based policing and improve our approach to tackling domestic abuse.”

College of Policing head of research and analysis, Rachel Tuffin, said: “As the first professional body for the service, the College of Policing is responsible for working with forces to assess if the cameras make a difference and building an evidence base to share across policing.

“The results from the trial in Essex, along with those from other forces, will identify how body worn video will be used to improve the delivery of policing services for the public.

“It will also help police and crime commissioners and chief officers decide how best to use this technology locally across 43 forces in England and Wales.”

Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, supported the initiative. He said: “For complex and varied reasons, victims of domestic abuse are sometimes reluctant to give evidence against the person who has caused them harm. Equipping officers attending domestic abuse incidents with body worn cameras means that evidence will often be captured automatically and directly.

“I fully support using technology to help ensure that there is no hiding place for those who commit domestic abuse.”

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