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London's firearms officers to be kitted out in body worn cameras

Metropolitan Police say the cameras are being issued to all Armed Response Units in the Firearms Command

Frontline firearms officers will be kitted out with body cameras in a bid "increase accountability" across London's police force.

The Metropolitan Police Service announced that overt firearms officers will be issued head mounted cameras on Monday (August 14) as part of the rollout of Body Worn Video (BWV) in the capital.

The cameras are being issued to all Armed Response Units in the Firearms Command, allowing them to wear the new technology on their baseball caps and ballistic helmets.

Firearms officers will be kitted out with body worn cameras(Image: Metropolitan Police)

The Firearms Command will receive around 1,000 Axon Flex 2 cameras to encompass the additional firearms officers recruited as part of Operation Hercules.

Commander Matt Twist, in charge of the Firearms Command, said: "Officers who carry an overt firearm as part of their role very much welcome the use of Body Worn Video.

"It provides a documented and accurate account of the threats officers face and the split second decisions they make.

"The cameras also offer greater transparency for those in front of the camera as well as those behind it."

The body cameras will make firearms officers more accountable, says the Mayor(Image: Metropolitan Police)

So far, more than 17,500 BVW cameras have been rolled out in London - the largest rollout of body worn cameras by police in the world.

The cameras have already been issued to frontline officers in 30 of the 32 boroughs, to officers from the Roads and Transport Policing Command, the Territorial Support Group and the Dog Support Unit.

The remaining boroughs will be issued with BWV prior to the bank holiday weekend.

Body worn video headcams will also be issued(Image: Metropolitan Police)

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan , said: "Body Worn Video is a huge step forward in bringing our capital's police force into the 21st century and building trust and confidence in the city's policing.

"This technology is helping to drive down complaints against officers across London and will make a real difference to those carrying firearms, increasing accountability and helping to gather better evidence for swifter justice.

"As we complete the London-wide rollout, the cameras will also provide our officers with confidence in the transparency of their actions, as they continue their great work on the frontline fighting crime and keeping our city safe."

Metropolitan Police say the cameras have the potential to help bring speedier justice for victims, by increasing the opportunities for obtaining early guilty pleas because offenders know their actions have been recorded.

Since September 2016, officers have recorded almost 785,000 videos of which 460,000 have auto-deleted from the system as per the MPS policy on retention of footage.

The MPS is the only UK police force digitally sharing BWV with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), with officers now routinely submitting more than 3,000 clips a month, leading to speedier justice and saving on time and cost of officers burning and safely distributing around 6,000 discs.

All footage recorded on BWV is subject to legal safeguards and guidance and can be viewed by the public under freedom of information and data protection laws.

The cameras are worn attached to the officer's uniform and do not permanently record.

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